More people were hospitalised after smoking cannabis in Cambridgeshire than almost anywhere else in the country last year, data has revealed.
The figures, released by NHS digital, show there were around 750 cannabis or spice related hospital admissions in NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG in 2018/19.
There were only four other CCGs in the country, out of a total of 211, with higher admissions figures.
The other four with higher admissions figures were Birmingham and Solihull, Manchester, Lambeth, and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Cases include people admitted with mental and behavioural disorders due to use of drugs, as well as people suffering other adverse effects.
The figures were rounded to the nearest five to “protect patient confidentiality,” according to the NHS.
But, despite their alarming appearance, the stats show a decrease in admissions compared to 2017/18 – when there were an estimated 840 cases
The total is however still more than three times higher than in 2010-11 when 200 cases were recorded.
Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, stressed that the figures didn’t differentiate between the use of cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids (spice).
He said: “As we all know the harms and incidents around spice are massive compared to cannabis. It’s actually dozens of highly dangerous toxic drugs which can cause severe health problems – which cannabis simply doesn’t.
“The only reason that spice has become popular is because when it was initially available it wasn’t illegal, and cannabis was. The root cause of all of this is the prohibition of cannabis. Our insane drugs policy that takes a substance 114 times less dangerous than alcohol, criminalises people who use it, and funds a £6bn criminal market from which all sorts of other consequential much nastier harms flow.
“I’m not saying cannabis is harmless – certainly children shouldn’t be using it – however the difference between having three pints a night or a bit of cannabis is the difference between tiddlywinks and base jumping.”
England as a whole saw people admitted to hospital 33,364 times last year because of cannabinoids – an increase of 6% since last year.