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Cannabis use, puff puff pass?

As simple as that sounds and as popular as it is, there may be some harmful effects for persons with mental and behavioural disorders. From 2006 to 2015, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), ran a study called Psychotic Disorder and Cannabis Use: Canadian Hospitalization Trends, 2006-2015, that showed;

~ Hospitalizations with persons who suffer from mental and behavioural disorders that use cannabis doubled throughout those years.

~ During those same 9 years, cannabis-related psychotic disorders tripled.

~Young people between 15-24 are more likely to be hospitalized for mental and behavioural disorders related to cannabis use.

It is interesting that the study noted that two-thirds of people that were hospitalized were males and over half the males were ages 15-24.

~ Males (18.7%) were reported to use cannabis more than females (11.1%).

It is important to study hospitalizations and cannabis use to gain a better understanding on how they relate with each other especially in the time of pre-legalization of non-medical cannabis. This knowledge can help make connections between cannabis policy changes and how it can affect the healthcare system. Findings from this study can help with harm reduction strategies, education, prevention and more.

These findings show that there is a link between Cannabis use and mental health risks especially in teens and young adults. Cannabis can have harmful impacts on mental health;

~ One in six people who began using cannabis on a regular basis as a teen or young adult developed a dependence which can lead to cannabis use disorder (Anthony, 2016).

~ Also, regular use of cannabis can increase your risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia and/or psychosis.

Even though cannabis is often used for self-medicating, there is limited and unreliable evidence that cannabis can help manage and lessen symptoms of mental disorders like depression, PTSD and more.

This month is Recovery Month and Sustainable Recovery stands up proudly in supporting all who suffer from issues surrounding Cannabis. If you are recovering from Cannabis use disorder or any substance use disorder, just know there are support systems in place for you. We have victories and downfalls on journey of recovery and just know you are not alone. Use this information for your own knowledge to help you make the right decisions for you!

Thanks to our intern Krystal Dujon-Riboul for her contribution to this blog post.

* Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Use & Addiction

Susan B. Raphael

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