The new state of Cannabis Research in Canada

 

Cannabis legalization has been a resounding success in Canada so far, there’s no question about it. Most people are happy, no matter whether they use cannabis or not. Plus, legalization has helped create an industry, which is already sustaining thousands of jobs across the country.

Unfortunately, the jury is still out on many of the perceived benefits and issues associated with the use of cannabis. This is where research and studies come into play. Up until very recently, very few Canadians were studying in this area, however all of that has changed with the excitement around the legalization of cannabis.

 

Current State of Cannabis Research in Canada

At the start of the Trudeau era in Canada, the government acknowledged that there was a major lack of solid research on the topic of marijuana. Because of their acknowledgment, the government devoted a surprising $1.4 million to marijuana studies to close the knowledge gap. This pledge was widely lauded because of how little other research was available for legislative bodies to fall back on when looking at how to govern this popular new substance.

 

What’s Being Planned for Cannabis?

A major study that is being planned will look at how cannabis should be legislated for First Nation bands. One of the reasons why this is being looked at is because of the need to establish culturally specific education materials, as well as mental health & addictions services.

The study plans to look at how cannabis legalization affects diverse communities, including Indigenous and racialized communities. Their goal is to discover information that will lead to more informed policy-making and better community services for First Nation bands.

 

What’s Being Discovered?

Cannabis impaired driving is a major topic now, as it should be. Drug-impaired driving, not just cannabis, is on a major rise in Canada. And this, of course, has led to an increase in car accidents.

Public Safety Canada in collaboration with the Canadian government is currently in the process of studying just how cannabis, and other drugs really affects drivers ranging in age from 19 to 45. They’ll be specifically looking at how THC (the main active ingredient in cannabis) has an impact on reaction times, driving speeds, risk-taking behaviours, as well as the ability to anticipate road hazards. It also examines whether and how THC affects people differently based on their age and gender.

The plan is to release the results of this study soon so that the government and the RCMP can have a better idea of how this should be enforced on the streets.

 

What are the Real Health Benefits of Marijuana?

This is the million-dollar question: what real health benefits does cannabis have?

There is a perception among many that cannabis is a wonder plant, and then among many others, it’s thought of as being a very bad drug. Because there is STILL a huge lack of hard evidence to support the claims made by many, people tend to just grab onto opinion pieces and treat them like they are facts. Luckily, many agencies and universities in Canada are currently doing peer-reviewed studies to answer all the questions we have.

Along with how it benefits sleep, the pain management element of cannabis, and more specifically, THC, is the thing that is most closely being looked at.

 

What are the Real Health Issues of Cannabis use?

A recent study that was done in tandem by St. Francis Xavier University and the University of Victoria looked at cannabis users for 10 years to learn what kind of impact cannabis had on younger users. The results were mixed. It was concluded that those who started consuming cannabis before the age of 15, were in danger of being less healthy and less successful than their peers. Their discovery was not only well-timed, but also worrisome. Cannabis use among Canadian youth is more than in any other demographic in the developed world.

Because of the renewed budget and interest in studying the effects of cannabis, a new, long term study is examining the impact of cannabis legalization on the health of students on the campuses of major universities in Canada.

 

Should we be Worried About Second-hand Cannabis Smoke?

With the legalization of cannabis, scientists, and the public alike, are very interested in looking at the effects of second-hand cannabis smoke. One concerning study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that, exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke, even for less than 5 minutes, can have negative cardiovascular effects.

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