Cannabis Act Doesn't Adequately Protect Canadian Youth, Claims Medical Journal

Several elements of Canada’s proposed cannabis legislation threaten the health and safety of the country’s youth, an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal claims.

The organization’s interim director, Dr. Diane Kelsall, writes that Bill-C45 doesn’t do enough to protect vulnerable youth and their developing brains.

"There are a number of things in the legislation that are truly worrisome," said Kelsall in an interview. "If the intent is truly a public health approach and to protect our youth this legislation is not doing it."

The editorial expresses concerns about several parts of the bill, including the recommendation that 18 be the minimum age to buy recreational cannabis. Kelsall says that is too young considering evidence that the brain doesn’t fully mature until 25.

Kelsall also believes that allowing people to grow cannabis at home will increase the likelihood of diversion to youth, and takes issue with the lack of limits regarding strain potency.

Romina Mizrah of the Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health uses PET scanners to analyze how cannabis use impacts brain function in young people. She told CBC News that in youth who regularly consume cannabis, preliminary evidence shows a reduction in an enzyme that regulates the endocannabinoid system that buffers key chemistry in the brain.

"There is some understanding at this point from epidemiological studies that certainly marijuana is a trigger," said Mizrahi. "Marijuana use predates the psychosis. Whether it causes the psychosis, that's a different question and that we don't know."

h/t CBC News

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