Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jan 2018
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Erin Petrow
Page: A5


There is good evidence that marijuana can negatively affect the
developing brains.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) is hoping the provincial
government will consider the effects of marijuana on brain development
when deciding on the legal age for purchase.

Though the provincial government has announced recreational marijuana
will be sold through private retailers and regulated by the SLGA, they
say they are waiting to decide the legal age until the new cabinet and
premier are in place.

The majority of provinces are restricting the purchase of marijuana to
those 19 and older. SMA president Dr. Joanne Sivertson says limiting
access to people 21 and over would make Saskatchewan a leader in
protecting the brain development of young adults.

"There is good evidence that marijuana can negatively affect the
developing brains which develop until your mid-20s," Siverston
explained. "So delaying the start of use of marijuanais only going to
be better for the youth in our population."

Sivertson said many doctors would prefer not to see people younger
than 25 using marijuana, but the SMA is compromising on a lower age
due to the safety risk of uncontrolled products sold on the black market.

She stated that early use can lead to a higher risk of dependency as
well as a higher risk of developing mental health issues - especially

The Canadian Medical Association has also linked marijuana use to
problems in the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems and cognitive
impairment. They also note an increased risk for chronic psychosis
disorders like schizophrenia when the user already has a family
history of the condition.

"We expect there will need to be an increase in resources dedicated to
mental health and addictions with the legalization of marijuana,"
Siverston said. "Hopefully, some of the money from the sales could be
devoted to that kind of support for our population."

Sivertson noted she would also like to see some of this revenue
funnelled towards education as well as into research on the health
effects that recreational marijuana has on the public once it becomes
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MAP posted-by: Matt