To coincide with Drug Action Week 2008, the Australian Medical Association today launched a brochure about the short and long-term effects of cannabis use.
Take a closer look: Cannabis and your health 2008
is the AMA's assessment of new evidence that has emerged about the nature and effect of cannabis use.
Drug Action Week 2008 is held nationally to raise awareness about alcohol and other drugs issues in Australia.
AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said cannabis was the most common illicit drug used in Australia, particularly among young people, and it was important that they had access to accurate and easily-understood information about the potential harms of the drug.
"Doctors are concerned that people of all ages aren't aware of the dangers of cannabis use," she said.
"Many Australians, including teenagers and their parents, visit their GP on a regular basis. These visits are an opportunity for doctors to provide patients with credible and authoritative information about cannabis use." Take a closer look: Cannabis and your health 2008
relates the facts in an objective way, includes information on the mental health effects of the drug's use, and provides sources of advice for people who wish to know more.
Dr Capolingua said the AMA existed to advocate for patients and to ensure that they received the best health system for their needs.
"The AMA will continue its efforts to improve the health of Australians through support for medical professionalism and public health education," she said.
The brochure also includes information on the effects of short-term use of cannabis in small and large doses, long-term use, smoking cannabis during pregnancy, how long the effects last, psychological dependence and driving or operating machinery under the influence of the drug.
In 2007, 33.5 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 had used cannabis at least once.
Nearly 13 per cent of 14 to 19-year-olds (221,700 young people) had used cannabis in the last 12 months.