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Page last updated at 06:07 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 07:07 UK
Teens 'aware of cannabis harm'
someone smoking cannabis
74% of 11-18 year olds are aware of the risks of smoking cannabis

Nearly one in two teenagers knows someone who has suffered from a mental health problem like paranoia after using cannabis, a survey suggests.

Forty-two percent of 11-18 year olds know someone who has experienced memory loss, panic attacks or paranoia from cannabis, drugs information service Frank said.

The survey of 27,000 teenagers found 74% were aware of the risks.

It revealed 18% of teenagers felt under pressure to try the Class B drug.

One in ten thought it made them look cool.

The research, which was carried out on networking website Habbo Hotel, found 64% of young people were aware cannabis could cause panic attacks, 41% knew it could bring on paranoia and 38% thought it could result in memory loss.

Over 50% of teenagers associated cannabis use with losing motivation and doing badly at school or college.

But one in four said they saw cannabis as a "natural" drug, despite the risks.

And 14% of 11-18 year olds admitted using the drug to help them to cope with life.

Chris Hudson, from Frank, said: "The majority of teenagers (55%) don't want to risk their health by using cannabis, however, some people choose to take the risk; while others wrongly believe cannabis is harmless because it is a plant.

"Cannabis messes with your mind - and reactions can be more powerful with stronger strains such as skunk, which is around twice as potent," he warned.



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