and well-being of children and youth
Nov 24 2016
OTTAWA— As the federal government considers legalizing marijuana, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) is urging strong measures to protect and discourage use by children and youth.
In a statement released today, the CPS recommends that the age to purchase marijuana be aligned with the legal smoking age (18 or 19 years, depending on the province/territory). The CPS also recommends limiting the potency of products legally sold to those 18 to 25 years old.
“Young adults frequently experiment with marijuana,” says Dr. Christina Grant, author of the new statement and member of the CPS Adolescent Health Committee. “By aligning the legal age for cannabis use with that for other legally controlled substances, young adults will have access to a regulated product, with a known potency. They’ll also be less likely to engage in high-risk illegal activities to access cannabis.”
The statement describes the many potentially harmful effects of cannabis use in children, including damage to critical brain development, significant risk of psychiatric illness, potential for addiction, and poor performance in school.
Parents or other adults who use marijuana should keep it out of reach to ensure young children do not accidentally ingest cannabis-containing food products. For older children, the CPS encourages parents to have an open discussion about the many risks of marijuana.
“We need to educate children and their families to reinforce that cannabis is not safe for young people,” says Dr. Grant. “Their developing brains are especially sensitive to the negative consequences of cannabis use.”
The CPS calls on the federal and provincial/territorial governments to:
The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,000 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.
Last updated: Nov 24 2016