Teens and Marijuana:
When it comes to substance abuse, one of the most vulnerable audiences for potential impact on future development are teenagers. While lightly experimenting may be a rite of passage for some adolescents, there are potential implications on brain health.
“Since the adolescent brain undergoes rapid and extensive development until a person reaches his or her mid-twenties. Brain development during this time helps to lay the foundation for success or, conversely, challenges later in life.” 1
If the adolescent brain is still developing up until a person’s early twenties there are studies and research to indicate that cannabis use, and specifically more frequent use can cause negative effects on the teen’s growing brain.
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- The rate of cannabis use is two times higher among Canadian youth aged 15 – 24 than it is among adults. 1
- Canadian youth have one of the highest rates of cannabis use worldwide. In 2016, the World Health Organization compared past-30-day cannabis use among youth aged 15 across 40 countries and found that use by Canadian youth (13%) was the second highest.2
- One in 5 teens aged between 15 and 19 have used cannabis in the past year.3
- In Ontario, cannabis use increases with high school grade level to a high of 36.9% among 12th grade students. 4
- (Reported High School use of marijuana: Gr.9 – 9.3%, Gr.10 – 19.9%, Gr.11 – 30.4%, Gr.12 – 36.9%)
- Cannabis use is still more prevalent among males than females, although the rate of use among females is on the rise. 5
1- CTADS 2015, 2- Health Behaviour in School-aged Children 2016, World Health Organization, 3 – Statistics Canada 2016, 4 – OSDUHS 2017, 5 – Statistics Canada2016). Source https://www.drugfreekidscanada.org/prevention/drug-info/cannabis/
Environics Research conducted an online survey of 1,005 Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 who live in their home at least part of the time. Quotas were in place to ensure representation by province, gender and by age of child. The survey was in field from June 26 to July 9, 2018 and showed the following:
- A majority of parents (60 percent) in Canada are worried about cannabis legalization.
- They believe there is not enough information provided to young students to know the effects and possible dangers of smoking marijuana at a young age.
- For every 10 parents, only three “feel [that they are] ‘very prepared’ to educate their children about cannabis”
- The top priority for parents is overwhelmingly regarding the use of marijuana before driving or a car, or being in a car with someone driving under the influence.
- Other priorities included negative effects on their children’s bodies, peer pressure, and the possibility of marijuana being a gateway drug.
Please click here to learn more: http://www.spectrummdx.com/teen-marijuana-abuse/
Workplace and Marijuana:
With the upcoming legalization of marijuana, there is still some confusion among both employers and employees regarding the consumption of cannabis before or during work hours.
Across Canada, there is no single approach to the law regarding cannabis in each province. This means that what constitutes as suitable behaviour in Ontario may be considered illegal in Quebec.
According to HRPA, employers should enact a clear drug policy that includes the definition of “impairment” in a way that captures medical marijuana use and when/where it is acceptable. Policies on drug use must define what it means to be impaired and provide details on how the policy applies to medical cannabis. Any prescription drug policies should be enforced in a uniform manner to ensure that medical marijuana is treated equally with other prescriptions.
Until a reliable form of impairment testing is available, employers will have to continuously revisit their drug testing policies.
What workplaces should remember is that while regulations are extremely important to keeping their employees safe, different sectors will require different rules and thresholds for THC testing. The simpler this process is, the smoother the medizin-de for impairment will be.