Public Health Office Advises ‘Cautious Approach’ To Pot Legalization On P.E.I.

Article by Kerry Campbell, CBC News

Public Health Office advises 'cautious approach' to pot legalization on P.E.I. Legalization will increase usage, and thus health risk, office warns in report. More than 50 per cent of Islanders who've tried cannabis report trying it before the age of 16, according to a report by the P.E.I. Public Health Office

P.E.I.’s Public Health Office says legalizing cannabis will likely lead to increased health risks from the drug, with usage among Islanders expected to increase from 40 to 60 percent within the first year.

The office has compiled a report on the health risks associated with marijuana, and particularly on concerns around legalization of the drug.

Citing previous research on the topic, the report identifies a number of short and long-term health effects associated with cannabis, including:

  • Anxiety.
  • Cognitive and psychomotor impairment.
  • Low birthweight pregnancies.
  • Impaired cardiovascular functioning.
  • Decreased neurocognitive functioning.

The report also mentions the medicinal use of marijuana in helping manage symptoms in patients including those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple scleroris.

The report cites projections from the RAND Corporation suggesting pot consumption will increase between 40 and 60 per cent during the first year of legalization.

“Commercialization of cannabis is anticipated to increase consumption and subsequent health harms,” the report states.

The report also points to early data from studies looking at the legalization of pot in Colorado, warning P.E.I. may see increases in cannabis-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations and an increase in unintentional exposures to cannabis products, including among children.

According to the report pot usage among Islanders is similar to rates in Canada as a whole — 10.7 per cent of Island adults report they have used it over the past year.

The report does caution that figure is self-reported and says the actual number is probably higher, given the current illicit status of the drug.

Read full article here.

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