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Calls for highly potent cannabis to be made Class A drug after man cuts off penis and stabs mother

“You just can’t imagine anything like that actually happening. The whole episode was just surreal.”

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Wollertz

A FATHER HAS called for a highly potent form of cannabis – known as skunk – to be made a Class A drug in the UK after his son stabbed his mother several times and cut off his own penis.

The man was sectioned after the “psychotic episode” and his father has spoken to BBC Radio 5 Live about the “devastating” incident.

The father, who asked to remain anonymous, explained how his son became paranoid after becoming addicted to skunk, a powerful variant of cannabis grown using chemicals.

He said his son turned to cannabis out of boredom but that spiralled into addiction and paranoia.

“He switched from a very bright, bubbly lad to what one can only describe as a waste of space… and he understands that,” the father explained to presenter Emma Barnett.

He became delusional and he used to sleep with a tennis racket in his bed because he thought people were living in the walls.

“I remember one instance when he was telling us all about the fact that mermaids exist. It was just a whole tragic trip downhill.”

Describing the “psychotic episode” in which his son repeatedly stabbed his mother and then cut off his own penis, the father said, “It was just absolutely devastating.”

You just can’t imagine anything like that actually happening. The whole episode was just surreal. I remember looking back it is almost as if I’m peering through a window and it’s happening to somebody else. You can never imagine it.

The man was put into a psychiatric hospital for six months following the attack. He no longer consumes drugs or alcohol and has yet to make a full physical recovery despite undergoing a number of operations. The father did not provide an update on the extent of the mother’s injuries however it is understood they were not life threatening.

He has backed a campaign to have skunk reclassified as a Class A drug in the UK. The campaign is spearheaded by Lord Monson who attributes his own son’s suicide to Skunk. Monson is also calling for more moderate strains of cannabis to be legalised.

Skunk can have several times the level of THC, cannabis’ active ingredient, and less CBD, which generally balances out the effects.

Data from the mid-1990s showed the average THC content of cannabis in Ireland at around 1.5%. A more recent study carried out by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs found strains of cannabis with a THC content of as high as 16%.

A spokeswoman for Merchants Quay Ireland, a residential drug and alcohol treatment service, said that while many of its clients report using cannabis, no problems which could be attributed to high-potency cannabis use have been detected.

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However, it has issued a warning over synthetic cannabis which has also been linked with psychotic episodes. Synthetic cannabis is the term for man-made cannabis drugs such as Spice.

Tony Duffin of the Ana Liffey Drug Project said drugs like Spice have been available in Ireland for some time. He explained there is a “polydrug use problem” in Ireland, meaning that most people who use drugs problematically use more than one substance.

“There is an increasingly wide array of unknown or illicit drugs being used every day in Ireland. Opioids, stimulants, empathogens, psychedelics, dissociatives, cannabinoids and depressants are all easily available and cheap to buy,” Duffin said.

“Across all jurisdictions there is a need for increasingly progressive drug policies that can better manage drugs in society – to reduce harm to individuals, families and communities,” he concluded.

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Ceimin Burke

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