Legalizing marijuana will harm health of youth in Canada

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The federal government's bill C-45 to legalize marijuana in Canada will jeopardize the health of young people and Parliament should vote against it, argues the interim editor-in-chief of CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) in an editorial.

"Simply put, cannabis should not be used by ," says Dr. Diane Kelsall, Editor-in-Chief (Interim), CMAJ. "It is toxic to neurons, and regular use of marijuana can actually change their developing brains."

The Canadian Paediatric Society and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have publicly stated that marijuana is not harmless and can have on the brain, especially young brains.

Based on evidence that suggests the human brain continues to mature until age 25, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recommends a minimum age of 21 to purchase and use marijuana. These groups have all called for restrictions on potency and quantities to minimize risk of adverse effects.

"Most of us know a young person whose life was derailed because of marijuana use," writes Dr. Kelsall. "Bill C-45 is unlikely to prevent such tragedies from occurring - and, conversely, may make them more frequent."

Many fear that legalization of marijuana will substantially increase impaired driving from using alone, as well as with alcohol.

"The government appears to be hastening to deliver on a campaign promise without being careful enough about the health impacts of policy. It's not good enough to say that provinces and territories can set more stringent rules if they wish. If Parliament truly cares about the public health and safety of Canadians, especially our youth, this bill will not pass."

Explore further

Vermont governor vetoes marijuana bill, wants changes made

More information: Canadian Medical Association Journal (2017). DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.170555
Citation: Legalizing marijuana will harm health of youth in Canada (2017, May 29) retrieved 18 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

May 29, 2017
It never ceases to amaze me that our medical community can remain so oblivious to the vast array of beneficial medical properties the 100+ phytocannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant can provide to the human Endocannabinoid system thus returning the patient to a much more positive state of physical and mental health! .

Our prime minister promised to use best practices and best science in the formulation of his party's cannabis policy but that is not what is happening.

Our government is being informed by organizations that are pervaded by negative bias against all forms of cannabis use and as a result our legislation we will be full of flaws based on Gross misconceptions regarding how cannabis affects individual human physiology.

https://youtu *dot*

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more