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The hidden costs of marijuana legalization?

Cannabis Credit: Pitscher/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cannabis Credit: Pitscher/Flickr/Creative Commons

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said his government expects to have legislation passed this summer legalizing marijuana. According to Lifesite News, in its current form, Bill C-45 would allow children as young as 12 years old to not only have five grams of Marijuana (10 joints) but to even share it with their friends.

Anyone over the age of 17 will be allowed to purchase any amount of marijuana that they want and to even grow four plants in their home, but does limit how much they can share in public to 30 grams (60 Joints).

Of course, we all know how mature teens are and none of them will be taking it to school. Fortunately, it looks like more responsible provincial governments may toughen the rules in their respective provinces.

This is all happening despite several studies that show marijuana is particularly dangerous for teens whose brains are still developing.

In a study released in 2015, researchers at the Psychiatry Institute at London, England’s King’s College blame Marijuana for 25% of the mental disorders affecting today’s young people. This includes delusions, hallucinations and hearing voices — symptoms often associated with bipolar and schizophrenia.

Based on their comparative study of two groups of 400 people  — one that used skunk (a potent form of marijuana) and Cannabis on a daily basis and one that didn’t — the researchers concluded:

“People who used cannabis or skunk every day were roughly three times more likely to have a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder than those who never used Cannabis.”

Yet despite these findings and those of other medical researchers (here, here, here, here, here and here) warning of serious mental health problems particularly for teens associated with marijuana usage, the Canadian government is pushing ahead with this legalization.

Not only will the government make it easy for teens to use the drug, it is basically kicking the chair out from beneath parents who may want to control their kid’s usage.

The biggest concern here is not so much legalization, but the messaging associated with this decision that it’s safe.

According to a survey conducted in September 2015, 52.5% of the people surveyed in the American state of Oregon now consider alcohol to be more dangerous than Marijuana.

It also found that 40% of those surveyed thought marijuana and alcohol were equally harmful and only 7.5% considered marijuana more dangerous than alcohol.

The survey further revealed a political element to how people perceived marijuana. The group most likely to consider cannabis less dangerous were young men who politically supported the Democrats.

The researchers warned that the growing perception that marijuana and even alcohol are safe could have serious health implications down the road.

Along a similar vein, a report published in the journal JAMA in late December revealed there is an explosive growth among women using marijuana to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of women under the age 18 using marijuana while pregnant grew from 12.5% to 21.8%. The number of pregnant women between the ages of 18 to 24 who used marijuana while pregnant jumped from 9.8% to 19% over this same period.

This despite concerns that tetrahydrocannabinol (TCP), the active ingredient in cannabis, could affect the baby in the womb.

Should we be concerned?

Medical researchers in Denmark concluded that the children of women who used marijuana while pregnant are six times more likely to have schizophrenia.

This is not a study that people should idly toss into the waste basket, because the researchers from Copenhagen’s University Hospital’s Mental Health Centre came to this conclusion after analyzing the records of 3.1 million patients.

So how many young lives will be permanently affected by the Trudeau government’s rush to appear cool and progressive?


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