CBC News – The number of Canadians using cannabis has increased by 25 per cent since it was legalized five years ago, a new commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stated.
But hospitalizations are also on the rise, prompting some doctors to say more information and better policies are needed to better mitigate negative outcomes.
Cannabis use and hospitalizations up 5 years after legalization, researchers say
When Canada legalized the use of cannabis in October 2018 after decades of prohibition, the goals were to improve safety and public health as well as to reduce access by youth, crime and the illegal market.
Five years later, public health experts say legalization hasn’t created any health benefits — but it has been linked to some serious concerns.
Tuesday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal includes a commentary taking stock on what’s happened with the legalization of non-medical cannabis.
“Cannabis-induced psychosis had the largest relative increase for hospitalizations.”
The paper doesn’t examine a greater uptake of medical cannabis, which has been regulated by the government since 2001.
More than a quarter of Canadian adults — 27 per cent — say they use cannabis, up from 22 per cent in 2017, said author Benedikt Fischer, an adjunct professor at the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
“Cannabis has been a widely available, normalized and even promoted product,” Fischer said.
Though the CMAJ commenters did not cite any direct health benefits from legalization, the paper notes the important social justice benefits from substantial reductions in criminal arrests and charges, along with the associated stigma.
Two-thirds of active cannabis users now get their cannabis from legal sources, according to the paper …