Article by Jennifer Khil, The Gauntlet
According to guidelines endorsed by the Canadian government, you should not smoke weed every day.
Federal health minister Jane Philpott is supporting the “Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines” (LRCUG) published in June in the American Journal of Public Health. The guidelines were funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and outline 10 recommendations for the use of non-medical — or recreational — marijuana.
The LRCUG’s recommendations include limiting marijuana intake to once a week, abstaining from use among special-risk populations, such as pregnant women, and avoiding driving while under the influence. It also recommends consuming weed through methods other than smoking, such as through vaporizers or edibles.
Health Canada is endorsing the LRCUG as a part of the Liberal’s push to legalize recreational marijuana. By endorsing usage guidelines ahead of legalization, Phillpott hopes to counter the potential health risks of increased public access to cannabis.
“From a scientific perspective, Health Canada considers the guidelines to be important, evidence-based information to help cannabis users reduce the health and safety risks associated with cannabis use,” reads Philpott’s statement. “Our Government introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. We are proposing a public health approach to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use. The proposed Cannabis Act focuses on protecting the health of Canadians, particularly youth.”
Fiona Clement is a researcher at the University of Calgary’s Institute of Public Health who specializes in public policy. Clement worked on a series of reports for the Alberta government on how the province should handle changing marijuana legislation and said she supports the LRCUG.
“I would put these guidelines in the same category as public health messaging that has been around for decades around drinking and the consumption of alcohol,” Clement said. “I do think it’s very important to have documents like this that balance the risks with the reality that cannabis use is already quite widespread — and as we move toward legalization, use will become less stigmatized and [cannabis] more easily accessible.”