Pubdate: Mon, 13 Apr 2015
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Gary Direnfeld
Page: G9


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Q: Whenever I visit my granddaughter's house I can smell pot smoke. I
wonder if this is harmful for young children to be breathing in. Her
parents are totally against second-hand cigarette smoke. I've told
them about my concerns and they don't seem to think it is harmful.
They tell me it's going to be legalized soon anyway so don't fret.

A: Currently marijuana is not legalized in Canada. Much debate
continues as to the legalization of this substance. I will forgo that
discussion here.

At issue is your concern for the impact of second-hand marijuana smoke
on your granddaughter.

Although there is not the vast amount of research on secondhand
marijuana smoke as on tobacco, the research suggests that they have
similar negative properties and that second-hand marijuana smoke can
create an increased risk for throat and lung cancer.

However, perhaps a more critical difference is that marijuana is a
psychoactive drug, meaning it alters the brain to produce a high or
euphoria. If your granddaughter is exposed to the second-hand
marijuana smoke, then her brain will be influenced not only in the
moment by the substance, but can be altered in its development.
Further, she will be desensitized to the presence of the substance,
which can increase the likelihood of her using the drug herself when

Beyond the risk associated with the exposure to the second-hand smoke
is a risk for negligence or lack of appropriate supervision if her
parents are under the influence of marijuana during her care.

It seems that her parents may believe marijuana to be a simple
pleasurable substance with no harmful effects. This is not the case,
but there may be little you can do to influence the parents otherwise.

If you are concerned for your granddaughter's well being under her
parents care, then you have a duty to report this to your local
Children's Aid Society. Reports can be made anonymously.
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MAP posted-by: Matt