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Cannabis Misuse Effects on Wellbeing

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Health
Wordcount: 2504 words Published: 13th Oct 2017

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How does cannabis misuse impact on the health and well-being of young people between the ages of 11-17 in England?


The major focus of this research will be to explore how the misuse of cannabis can affect the health and wellbeing of young people in England and who are between the ages of 11 – 17 years. Gaining understanding on the impacts on the impacts on health and well being of these young people within the age group will help the researcher to make informed and evidence based recommendations on the appropriate health promotion interventions to tackle the health issue. Therefore, the research will involve an extensive review of journals that have specific relevance to the cannabis misuse among young people between the ages 11 – 17; and the review will be followed by critical discussions on the key themes that will arise from the results of the literature review. Also the discussions will be drawn from the activities of a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) that is involved in tackling cannabis misuse among young people in the UK.

Background and Rationale for Study

Cannabis is from flowering plant known as cannabis sativa and it produces both euphoria and reduces anxiety (Naftali et al, 2013; Moore, 2007). The drug can be used occasionally by individuals without causing significant social or mental problems but heavy users or addicts may experience anxiety and disturbed sleep after withdrawal from its use (Schaub et al, 2013; Moffat et al, 2013). In the year 2009, the UK Government reclassified cannabis from being Class C drug to Class B making it illegal for anyone in possession of supply quantity (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2011). The reclassifying of cannabis represents Government intervention to discourage poor lifestyle choices especially among young people who have been found to be indulged in cannabis abuse and also to promote healthy lifestyles.

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The 2011 data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed that the “prevalence of young adults ever having taken drugs has decreased from 48.6% in 1996 to 40.1% in 2010/11; and in 2009/10 lifetime prevalence was 40.7%. The number receiving help for primary cannabis use has increased by more than 4,000 since 2005/06 to 13,123 in 2009/10. The number of under- 18s treated for problem drug use associated with primary use of heroin and crack is 530, less than half the number in 2005/06” (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2011).

Furthermore the data reveals that number of young people receiving help for primary cannabis use has increased by more than 4,000 since 2005/06 to 13,123 in 2009/2010. This increase in the number of young people receiving help for cannabis use is a major concern and this has prompted the decision to choose this topic. The concern here is that cannabis the misuse of cannabis health risks and which will widen the gap in the inequalities in the health of the population in the UK. According to Moffat et al (2013) the use of cannabis affects the nervous system and causes anxiety and this has the potential to affect the health and wellbeing of the individual in the long term especially where the body metabolism is not able to resist those effects. Another rationale for choosing to research on cannabis misuse among the young people of this age group is that, though there is recorded decrease in the use of cannabis based on the data by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (2011), the 2013 report shows that “as in previous years cannabis was the most widely used drug among pupils in 2012 with 7.5% reporting they had taken it in the last year” (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2014). The data suggests that the cannabis use among pupils is becoming a lifestyle and that if appropriate and adequate behavioural interventions are not implemented to cause a significant change of behaviour, this lifestyle may become a way of life of the 7.5% of the population of pupils. The wider implication of this unhealthy lifestyle is that the 7.5% of pupils may likely experience inequalities in health and also exclude them from maximising potentials. Health inequality simply means lack of uniformity in health or differences in health and this is often caused by various factors among which is the lifestyle of the population (Naidoo and Wills, 2011). This clearly suggests that the social distribution of health is linked to the differences in the risk behaviours of the individuals and that a change of risky behaviour reduces the differences in health (Naidoo and Wills, 2011).

Aim and Objectives of the Research

The aim of the research is examine the effectiveness of the interventions in reducing cannabis misuse among young people in England. To achieve this aim, the following 4 objectives have been set:

  • To examine the prevalence of cannabis misuse among young people in England
  • To explore the implication of cannabis misuse on the health and wellbeing of young people in England
  • To identify a relevant organisation, justify its election and critically analyse one of its programme intervention in relation to cannabis misuse among young people in England
  • To identify and critically discuss the effectiveness of interventions in responding to cannabis misuse in England.

Literature Search Strategy

The literatures will be searched electronically. The electronic search will involve the use online subject- specific databases to assess academic library. The use of the electronic to search literatures is due to the argument that computerised databases contain huge subject indexes of journal articles from which the research can choose subject-specific articles (Aveyard, 2010). The electronic databases from which journals will be sources from are PubMed; CINAHL; and others. The inclusion and exclusion strategy will be used because it will enable the researcher to identify the specific literatures that will be helpful in answering the research question and achieving the four research objectives (Aveyard, 2010). The first instance in the literature is to identify keywords that capture the essence of the research. The key words that will be used are: statistics of cannabis misuse in England; cannabis and young people aged 11-17 years; health risks and cannabis; and cannabis misuse and UK government interventions. Both quantitative and qualitative articles will be selected. The quantitative articles will include randomised controlled trials, cohort and case controls and cross-sectional studies (surveys/questionnaires); and qualitative studies will include grounded theory, ethnography and action research. Furthermore, only articles written within the past 10 years, that is, 2004 to 2014 will be included and articles that do not meet this criterion no matter how relevant and specific will be excluded.

Ethics and anti-oppressive practice considerations

It is important for the researcher to observe the main ethical issues relevant to the research process. This is because Bowling (2009) explains that those who agree to participate in the research process should be protected in relation to their privacy and manipulation and as such these participants should be shielded from any form of harm. The main ethical forms of protection for the participants are in terms of confidentiality; anonymity and informed consent (Bowling, 2009). Confidentiality and anonymity are the protections for the participants so that the information that they provide are not related to them and that their identities are not revealed. Informed consent is the protection which ensures that the participant is given appropriate and adequate information about the research topic and to seek his or her consent to enable an informed decision as to whether to participate or not to participate (Bowling, 2009). These ethical issues are mostly appropriate when carrying out primary research and not secondary research which does not involve contact with research participants (Bowling, 2009). Also the research will not be affected by other ethical principles of justice, non-maleficence, veracity and fidelity because it is a secondary research. However, this researcher will comply with the relevant ethical issues on secondary research. Therefore, the ethical issues such as informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality will not be considered since the research will not involve primary research. However, the research will comply with the requirements by the Internal Ethics Committee when it comes to plagiarism by ensuring that proper referencing is carried out so that the work of others will not be represented as those of this research.

Research structure

The research will be arranged in 4 chapters

The chapter 1 will give a brief background of the research and the aims and objectives. The chapter 2 will analyse the results of the literatures that will be included from the literature search. Chapter 3 will briefly analyse the interventions by the UK Government and a chosen Non Governmental Agency (NGO). The analysis will be followed by critical discussion using relevant theories of Health Promotion to evaluate the extent to which the interventions have been effective in achieving the desired objective of health and well being for young people between the ages 11 – 17 years. The final part of the research will entail writing a reflective essay to critically evaluate what I have learnt through the processes of the essay and the relevant of the learning to my future career as a health and social care professional.

Project Time Table

Given below is the timetable for the project. This timetable is flexible considering the fact that there may be changes in the University timetable and also the constraints in getting feedback from the supervisor who has very tight academic schedule


Up to Dec 8th

Jan 15th

Jan 31st

Feb 28th

March 31st

April 30th

proposal Draft


Feedback on Draft


Submission of Final Proposal


Feedback on Final Proposal


Review with Supervisor


Draft Literature review






Writing Conclusions


Final Draft


Corrections and Submission



Aveyard, H. (2010) Doing a literature review in health and Social Care. A practical guide. New York, NY Open University

Bowling A (2009) Research Methods in Health Investigating health service 3rd edition, Open University Press, England McGraw-Hill

Moore TH, Zammit S, Lingford-Hughes A, Barnes TR, Jones PB, Burke M, Lewis G (2007). Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes : a systematic review. Lancet 370, 319–328.

Moffat BM, Jenkins EK, Johnson JL; Weeding out the information: an ethnographic approach to exploring how young people make sense of the evidence on cannabis. Harm Reduct J. 2013 Nov 27;10(1):34.

Naidoo J. and Will J. (2011) Public Health and Health Promotion: Foundation for Health Promotion. Bailliere Tindall, Elsevier

Naftali, T,Bar-L. Schleider. L,Dotan. I,Lansky E.P,Sklerovsky B. F, and Konikoff F.M. (2013) Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn’s disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol.2013 Oct; 11(10):1276-1280.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.04.034. Epub 2013 May 4.

Schaub MP, Haug S, Wenger A, et al; Can reduce – the effects of chat-counseling and web-based self-help, Web-based self-help alone and a waiting list control program on cannabis use in problematic cannabis users: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2013 Nov 14; 13(1):305.

Health and Social Care Information Centre (2011) Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, Available at:www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB12994/drug-misu-eng-2013-rep.pdf. Accessed on 04/12/2014



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