By Jeanne Gandour.
As you surely know, the Government of Canada has pledged to legalize the use of non-medical cannabis by July 1st, 2018. However, did you know that although prohibited, cannabis ranks among the three most consumed psychoactive substances in Canada (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis)? A psychoactive element (THC) tetrahydrocannabinol) present in cannabis acts one the brain. THC is the most widely known such psychoactive element. The fact is that once legalized, its use will be standardized within a regulatory framework. Cutting agents—substances added by sellers to stretch a prohibited product because it is sold by weight—will be eliminated and the THC concentration will have a legally authorized limit. The objective of bill C-45 is to control the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis. I generally define a drug as a potentially addictive and dangerous substance that affects the brain. THC is a disruptor.
It alters environmental and spatial awareness and distorts time perception. It causes increased sensitivity to colours and sounds as well as sensory confusion. Indeed, similarly to other potentially addictive drugs (tobacco, alcohol, cocaine…), the THC in cannabis latches on to receptors that generate a flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. Some effects of cannabis consumption are a decrease in body temperature and pain, slower reflexes and mobility, and diminished short-term memory. A Studies carried out in Colorado following the legalization of cannabis show no increase in consumption. A computer graphic of the effect of cannabis on the brain is available at:
According to the most recent surveys, 23% of high school students have consumed cannabis in the past twelve months (Enquête québécoise sur le tabac, l’alcool, la drogue et le jeu chez les élèves du secondaire, 2013). Context • ambiance • environment Individual • weight / height / gender • age Product • THC concentration • delivery system 4 Friends for Mental Health • Summer 2018 Summer 2018 • Friends for Mental Health 5 Much is said about cannabis and schizophrenia but no probative scientific study links one to the other. However, it appears possible that cannabis can reveal a pre-existing condition. Aggravating factors for the disease are cannabis use at an early age or frequent consumption, as well as a personal or family history of psychosis or schizophrenia. It must be noted that frequent cannabis consumption can be linked to an increased risk of anxiety disorder, episodes of paranoia or depression, or even suicide. It is important to find out what causes an individual to consume cannabis—it can appear to be a solution when someone experiences intense anxiety. However, as shown in this diagram, the effect is short-lived. People and environments vary, as does the substance. Individual reactions can also differ, even when identical quantities are consumed; in addition, the same person can experience different reactions depending on the context. It is important to keep in mind that cannabis consumption offers a certain degree of satisfaction (if not, why do it?). However, there are risks involved in its use. It has now become possible to speak openly about using cannabis.
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