Article by Sydney Loney, London Free Press
A lot of people are pretty happy that they’ll soon be able to smoke pot in public (without getting into trouble). But not everyone is completely comfortable with legalization, given how little we actually know about the safety of cannabis consumption.
Many, like Dr. Tim Holland, president of Doctors Nova Scotia, an association representing all physicians in the province, say we need more research—and we need it now. “Thus far, research has been quite limited and some of it has been questionable because it was conducted by the proponents of the cannabis industry,” he says. “A big part of the problem has been a lack of funding, and also that marijuana was illegal, making it harder to study.”
In 2016, the government published a report acknowledging that, yes, there is a lack of solid research on marijuana and how it might affect our health, especially in the long-term. So, they decided to do something about it.
“In January, MP Bill Blair announced that the federal government will devote $1.4 million to marijuana studies, and the funds will be divided among 14 different research projects ($100,000 for each) in hospitals and universities across the country.”
Not a moment too soon, says Dr. Holland. “Having federal funding is fantastic—it’s an important investment and a step in the right direction.” Here’s a look at five studies researchers hope will give us some answers about some of the biggest gaps in our cannabis knowledge to date.
Are young people more at risk?
Two new studies from researchers at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and the University of Victoria tracked young cannabis users for 10 years and the results are troubling: those who started using the drug early and continued to use it are less healthy and less successful than their peers.