Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2017
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 The Daily News
Page: 6


If all goes according to plan, Canada's new marijuana law will take
effect in July 2018.

It's what happens between now and then that is critical, especially
when it comes to safeguarding young Canadians who are the most
vulnerable to the potential harms of marijuana use.

Studies have shown adolescents are particularly at risk due to the
fact their brains are continuing to develop and at a rapid pace. It's
wise to take into consideration that research has shown that chronic
marijuana usage is linked to memory and attention difficulties,
prominently among individuals who started use while in early

The Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse is concerned that heavy use
raises the risk of psychosis, depression and anxiety, as well as
respiratory conditions.

The Canadian Paediatric Society cautions there are several risks for
young people associated with the recreational use of marijuana.

Dr. Christine Grant, an adolescent medicine specialist at McMaster
University in Hamilton, who co-authored the society's position paper
on marijuana use stated: "We know that our brains develop well into
our 20s and also from science that cannabis has an effect both
structurally and functionally on our brains and that when our brains
are developing we're most vulnerable."

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive component of
marijuana. Dr. Grant said by limiting its concentrations until age 25,
it is hoped some risks could be mitigated. The society is concerned
that regular or heavy pot smoking can in some cases cause psychotic
events, such as depersonalization and losing touch with reality.

Legalization is on track to happen. Canada and Nova Scotia must be
prepared to protect vulnerable youth by putting in place thorough and
sustained initiatives to educate youth.

The effort should provide youth with an understanding that they should
delay marijuana use. The reasons are many and the risks are too great.

A public education program to educate everyone about the perils of
cannabis-impaired driving is needed as we move to legalization.
Driving under the influence of marijuana should be as socially
unacceptable as driving drunk.

The Canadian Automobile Association has lobbied for a
government-funded public education program and says police will also
need more funding to learn how to recognize and investigate
drug-impaired drivers.

As the Canadian Automobile Association said in a release, "There need
to be significant resources devoted to educating the public in the
run-up to, and after, marijuana is legalized."

We are about a year from this new world. The time to educate is now,
so we are better prepared to deal with the real health risks of the
new legal and social transformation of marijuana use.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt