Forum Says McMaster Must Prepare to Deal With Marijuana Legalization

Article by Carmela Fragomeni, Hamilton Spectator

Cannabis use researcher and President of University of Guelph, Franco Vaccarino, speaks in Guelph in 2015. Vaccarino spoke at McMaster University Tuesday at a Cannabis on Campus forum

There is reason to be concerned about legalizing marijuana when it comes to youth, a McMaster University health forum heard.

Psychologist and cannabis-use researcher Franco Vaccarino told Tuesday’s Cannabis on Campus forum that young people need special attention because their brains don’t fully develop until the age of 25.

Vaccarino, a principal editor of “The Effects of Cannabis Use during Adolescence” report in 2015, said brains undergo dramatic changes during adolescence and youth are vulnerable to drug use.

With high drug use, there is an increased risk for mental illness later in life, he said.

Vaccarino, who is also president of the University of Guelph, prefaced his remarks by stating that much of what he had to say related to early and frequent marijuana use and that “there are significant differences between frequent and infrequent use.”

Still, Canada has the highest number of young users of marijuana in the world, although their alcohol consumption is far higher, he said, adding one in 20 Canadian youth met the criteria for cannabis abuse in recent studies.

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