What you need to know about legal status of Cannabis
Legal status of Cannabis – With the Government proposing new changes to the legal status of cannabis, many of us are wondering what to think and how it will affect us, our families and communities. A new Health Canada survey sought to obtain detailed information about the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of Canadians who use cannabis for non-medical and medical purposes and the perceptions of non-users. Here are some interesting insights from the survey.
Perceptions on benefits and harms. About half of all respondents indicated that they believe that cannabis has a positive effect on mood, creativity, anxiety and sleep. On the other hand, some people indicated that cannabis had a negative effect on motivation, memory, concentration, attention and thinking and decision-making. More than 70% of respondents thought that using cannabis could be habit forming. Research shows that THC in cannabis causes an increase in levels of dopamine, the pleasure chemical, in the brain, motivating people to keep using it. In fact, it’s estimated that 9% of cannabis users will develop an addiction to it — a figure that rises with daily use and among people who start using as teenagers.
Opinions on using and driving. 4 out of 10 respondents who said that they had used cannabis in the past 12 months also said that they had driven within 2 hours of using cannabis. Cannabis can impair the skills needed to drive safely and perform other high-speed activities like skiing, biking and skateboarding. Participating in any of these activities while impaired can result in accidents that can cause serious injuries, even death.
Age of first use. The average age of respondents when they first used cannabis for non-medical purposes was 18.7 years of age. It’s important to remember that using cannabis at a young age, frequently and over a long period of time can have long-lasting impacts on learning, attention and memory. Early and frequent cannabis use also increases the chance of addiction. If approved, the proposed legislation would restrict the sale of cannabis to people over the age of 18 (or higher, depending on your province or territory).
Find more information at canada.ca/cannabis.