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Experts Warn About Effects of Canada Legalizing Marijuana

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By    |   Tuesday, 23 October 2018 10:51 AM

Health experts are closely watching youth, seniors, pregnant women and those prone to mental illness following the recent legalization of cannabis in the Canada.

According to the CBC News, people in the medical field agree that with legalization Canada has opened a pandora’s box.

“It’s a national, uncontrolled experiment,” family physician Dr. Diane Kelsall wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). “Given the known and unknown health hazards of cannabis, any increase in use of recreational drugs after legalization, whether by adults or youth, should be viewed as a failure.”

Canada’s public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, however, views legalizing pot as an opportunity to learn more about the effects on health of the herb. “We can be a very key international generator of knowledge on cannabis risk and harms, but also potentially some of the benefits,” she said.

Experts worry about the effect of cannabis on adolescents now that the “experiment” has begun. The federal law says users much be at least 18 years of age. Scientists know that the brain isn’t fully formed until about the age of 25, so experts are urging teens to wait as long as possible before choosing to use marijuana. Some critics point out that cannabis use can lead to dependency and addiction.

“It is widely known that adolescent use of cannabis can result in cognitive issues later on in life,” Dr. Scott Bienenfeld M.D., medical director of The Recovery Spot in New York City, tells Newsmax. “There is also a small but real association between cannabis use in the development if psychotic disorders.”

Pregnant women are another risk sector. Little is known about the effects of cannabis on a developing fetus. “We certainly recommend a precautionary approach avoiding all substances during the time of pregnancy as it could impact the developing baby,” admits Tam. 

Although much of the public health concern has centered around young people, “the rates of use among seniors is growing the fastest across the Canadian population,” says Fiona Clement, an associate professor of health policy at the University of Calgary. Clement says its important to study the use of cannabis among people over the age of 65—especially in terms of how it may affect chronic illness and multiple prescription medications.

Bienenfeld warns that people who have already had adverse reactions or bad experiences with the drug should use it with caution. He notes that some formulations have higher levels of THC, the principle psychoactive constituent  of cannabis that can lead to a higher percentage of reactions, hitting some  people harder than others with longer lasting, lingering effects.

“The important thing to consider in terms of cannabis legalization is that while it is predominantly a very safe drug, it does have risk factors,” he says.

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Health experts are closely watching youth, seniors, pregnant women and those prone to mental illness following the recent legalization of cannabis in the Canada.
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2018-51-23
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 10:51 AM
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