'Reading your Diaries was like reading my own story. My mother read them too, and for the first time ever she said she hadn't realised what it must have been like for me...' 'I'm sitting here in my office trying not to let my colleagues see the tears in my eyes after reading your diary. They are tears for you and your family and tears for what happened to my daughter.' When Debra Bell's oldest son, William, started smoking cannabis at school aged 14, the family were only moderately concerned. This was a harmless, non-addictive recreational drug, they believed - nothing like as problematic as alcohol. But then William's personality began to change. From being a bright, ambitious sport-loving boy he gradually transformed into a liar and a thief who truanted from school and could see no further ahead than the next fix. Health professionals assured Debra that these changes could not be caused by cannabis - there must be something else going on.
Thus began the lonely struggle to understand what was happening to William and to share that understanding with other families - both those who were suffering without support in the same way, and those who wanted to avoid the descent into addiction and possible psychosis. The Cannabis Diaries, based on the online diary that Debra kept from December 2006, record a seminal year in her family's battle to hold together and help William without damaging their younger sons. Anybody going through a similar experience will empathise and find comfort in the shared experience and the knowledge that cannabis really can have these effects. And if you fear this could happen to your family, there is much here to help you.