Abhishek Gupta is a research and medical sub-intern at CAMH who graduated from the Windsor University School of Medicine
The controversial debate over cannabis legalization has concluded on an official level, legally placing the drug in the hands of the Canadian public. Very soon, anyone over the age of 19 will be able to walk into a store and obtain it for personal consumption.
For mental health professionals, some aspects of this decriminalization effort are appealing. Conventional marijuana is often with far more dangerous substances leading to highly dangerous health outcomes. Furthermore, individuals with substance abuse issues are more likely to seek professional help when the consequences of drug possession are milder. Much like needle exchange sites, this move towards legalization provides consumers with a safer alternative for addressing their cravings for cannabis. ...continue reading →
Pippa Hawley is the Head of the Division of Palliative Care at the University of British Columbia
The recent headlines about legalization of cannabis in Canada - a subject already fraught with bias - has illustrated the need for care when reporting on statistical observations. An example of things going badly wrong is a recent “Fatal car crashes triple among drivers high on marijuana after legalization in Colorado; double in Washington state”. This was based on in the October issue of the BCMJ. The headline would seem to indicate that there has been a dramatic increase in fatal car crashes in those two states caused by people driving high on newly-legal cannabis.
This would be very important information and a pretty persuasive argument against legalization of cannabis, if it were true. ...continue reading →