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The implications of Canada’s legal cannabis industry

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The implications of Canada’s legal cannabis industry

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Canada’s legal cannabis industry has caught the attention of health experts, many of whom are fixating their attention on people with a high risk of mental illness, pregnant women, seniors and youth as a way of preventing potential pitfalls.

Based on a recent statement from CBC News, medical professionals believe that cannabis legalization in Canada has opened up a can of worms.

It’s a national, uncontrolled experiment,” wrote former family physician Dr. Diane Kelsall. Her words were published 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.”

Not everyone agrees with Kelsall. Dr. Theresa, the Public health officer for Canada, sees legalization as a stepping stone to discovering more scientific facts about the medicinal potential of pot.

“We can be a very key international generator of knowledge on cannabis risk and harms, but also potentially some of the benefits,” said Theresa.

Canada’s legal cannabis industry criticized for being an “experiment”

Some experts see legalization as an “experiment” in which users as young as 18 have an opportunity to dabble in what was once considered a dangerous drug. Since scientists are aware of the fact that the human brain is not finished developing until age 25, experts are trying to detract teenagers from trying cannabis until their brain is fully formed.

Criticism has also circulated regarding cannabis’ potential for addiction and dependency – interesting, what with so many people now choosing cannabis as a safer, non-addictive alternative to addictive medicines, such as opiates.

“It is widely known that adolescent use of cannabis can result in cognitive issues later on in life,” said the medical director of New York-based business The Recovery Spot, Dr. Scott Bienenfeld M.D., during an interview with NewsMax. “There is also a small but real association between cannabis use in the development of psychotic disorders.”

Canada’s legal cannabis industry could impact mothers-to-be and seniors

Aside from youths, another group of people are deemed to be a high risk sector following Canada’s cannabis legalization: pregnant women. So far, very few studies have been carried out to determine exactly how cannabis impacts a developing fetus.

“We certainly recommend a precautionary approach avoiding all substances during the time of pregnancy as it could impact the developing baby,” says Tam. Seniors are also included in the “high risk” groups, despite the fact this is a fairly new segment of the market.

“The rates of use among seniors is growing the fastest across the Canadian population,” says University of Calgary’s health policy associate professor, Fiona Clement. She stated the importance of investigating cannabis use among seniors aged 65 and above. Clement thinks that new studies need to be carried out to comprehend the impacts that Canada’s cannabis legalization will have on multiple prescription medications and chronic illness.

Individuals who may have previously endured a bad experience or unwanted side effects from consuming cannabis have been warned by Bienenfeld to use weed with caution. The doctor says that certain types of cannabis may contain higher levels of THC. Since THC is the main mind-altering chemical found in the cannabis plant, the psychoactive effects might be too powerful for some seniors to handle.

“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 concluded.

Despite the potential pitfalls of Canada’s cannabis legalization, there’s no denying the fact that it is having a ripple effect on worldwide legalization, consumption rates and, of course, all-important research. Notwithstanding, time will truly well if Canada reaps the rewards of legal weed.

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The implications of Canada’s legal cannabis industry