Health Canada urged parents on Tuesday in a tweet to speak with their teens about drugs and marijuana since not all are aware of risks, which included addiction. It was dubbed as “dangerous.”
This summer, Canada is expected to be the first developed nation ever and the second after Uruguay to legalize recreational marijuana. While medical marijuana is praised for its benefits, there are concerns over its recreational use especially its effect on teenagers, who are developing physically and mentally.
Health Canada said cannabis can be addictive. It said “about 1 in 11 people who use cannabis will become addicted,” adding: “That risk rises to about 1 in 6 for people who started using cannabis as a teen.”
Health Canada reminded parents that:
“You are your teen’s most important model and best support for achieving a happy and healthy lifestyle.”
Studies have shown that teenagers can be one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to marijuana. At the World Psychiatric Association’s World Congress in Berlin on Oct. 9, one of the studies published showed people who had consumed cannabis before the age of 18 developed schizophrenia approximately 10 years earlier than others.
Also, a new study published in the journal of JAMA Psychiatry on Jan. 17 found that the early use of marijuana by teens is associated with higher odds of psychotic-like experiences. Psychosis describes the mental condition of losing touch with reality, such as experiencing hallucinations or delusions.
THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, is what alters the developing brain of teens.
The study also said that “there is some evidence that smoking cannabis with tobacco also increases the amount of THC inhaled per gram.”
Other studies have also shown that the early and persistent use of cannabis results in “neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife” or lower IQ.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had the legalization of marijuana as part of his election platform, himself admitted that marijuana is “problematic” for the developing mind.
Health also warned that the marijuana used nowadays is not the same used years ago.
“Cannabis has become much more potent in recent years, which could increase health risks,” it added.