A string of serious crimes has been committed by users of skunk cannabis.
Muhiddin Mire, 30
The schizophrenic was jailed for life for the attempted murder of commuters at Leytonstone Tube station, East London, in 2016. A court heard his addiction to skunk cannabis had altered his brain to make him believe he was being followed by MI5.
Walter Pantellaro, 27
The kung fu champion was tried for kicking his way into a London flat in March and attacking a woman, 22, with a knife. She was saved by her 15-year-old brother, who was hurt as he defended her with a chair.
Pantellaro, a schizophrenic who thought he was God, told police he had taken cocaine. But tests showed the only drug in his system was cannabis.
Nicholas Salvador, 25
A cage fighter, he was detained indefinitely at Broadmoor for beheading an elderly woman with a machete on a rampage through gardens in North London in 2015.
He was a heavy user of skunk cannabis and thought his victim was Adolf Hitler or a demon in the form of an old lady.
Matthew Graham, 29
The office worker was detained after stabbing a prostitute in the neck with a seven-inch knife in Rochdale in 2015.
He struck her with such ferocity that the handle snapped off while the blade remained lodged in her neck. The court was told he was a schizophrenic whose attack had been triggered by his use of cannabis.
Michael Adebowale, 22
The Islamist extremist was jailed for the murder of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, South-east London, in 2013. His trial heard that his symptoms of psychosis were increased by heavy use of cannabis.
Frederick Russell, 28
He was tried for stabbing a homeless man near Putney Bridge Tube station, West London, in 2013. Russell was said to be a schizophrenic with a history of alcoholism and cannabis use.
Nicola Edgington, 32
She was convicted of murder after stabbing a stranger Sally Hodkin, 58, in the street with a 12-inch butcher’s knife in 2013.
Edgington had been in detention for killing her mother but had been freed. Before the stabbing, she had told a psychiatric nurse she had stopped taking her medication and had used skunk cannabis.
The latest study by five researchers from institutes based in Montreal, Canada, examined the lives of 1,136 men and women who were patients at psychiatric hospitals in Missouri, Pittsburgh and Massachusetts.
Records were gathered from interviews carried out every ten weeks for a year after their discharge.
It said patients who were using cannabis at each of these five checks were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to have turned to violence than those who had not used the drug.
The study pointed to ‘significant findings regarding the adverse effects of cannabis use on violence’.
It found there was a ‘more constant relationship’ between cannabis and violence than between alcohol or cocaine use and violence. The researchers said the link between cannabis and violence was not two-way but ‘uni-directional’.
Researchers said that cannabis causes violence and they found no evidence that the link is the other way round – ie that violent people are more likely to use cannabis.
"There was no support for theories put forward by campaigners anxious to free the drug from the taint of links with crime."
The academics said the effect of cannabis use was clear and not diminished by other factors such as patients who were heavy drinkers of alcohol.
The study comes after a series of American states have decriminalised cannabis – despite it being stronger and more potent than the hash smoked by hippies in the Sixties – or made it available for medical use.
A number of influential figures have backed a campaign for British laws banning the drug to be relaxed, including Richard Branson, Sting and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Even Prince William gave a boost to the liberalisation lobby last month when he asked a group of recovering addicts at a drugs charity about legalising banned drugs.
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