According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), the rates of cannabis use among Canadian youth are among the highest compared to other developed countries. The 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) data shows that the median age for starting cannabis use is 17.
A summary of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older
An evidence-based tool that can help guide choices and improve the health of Canadians who use cannabis
A report on the effects of cannabis use during adolescence
The final report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation
A 2017 report from the University of Calgary
Legalization and what it means for traffic safety
Cannabis is a plant containing many chemical substances that affect memory, attention, and concentration. It can be addictive, especially for those who begin using it at an early age. Evidence indicates that the developing brains of young individuals are more vulnerable to experiencing serious health effects. Relationships with peers and family, educational achievement, hobbies, and other activities can all be affected.
Cannabis is an intoxicating drug that can impair mental functions. For this reason, using it heightens the risk of motor vehicle collisions, injury and violence. Using cannabis also raises the risk of developing mental health problems, including psychosis, depression, and anxiety.
Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG) recommend that the best way to protect yourself from the health risks of cannabis use is to avoid using it.
• If you choose to use cannabis, waiting until later in life can reduce your risk of health problems.
Be aware that too much cannabis use is serious. Warning signs include:
If you or anyone you know develops these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
As Canada moves towards legalizing cannabis, the federal and provincial governments will continue to provide health information about it. Be aware that this drug can affect your health. Get facts from a trustworthy source. If you have concerns about cannabis use, talk with your health care provider.
As a community, we share a responsibility in supporting the next generation. Have a frank, open and respectful conversation about cannabis with the young people in your life. Treating them with dignity helps them to make wiser decisions and understand that they are not alone.