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Health Canada Highlights Dangers of Marijuana Use for Youth

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Minister Ambrose meets with medical professionals and researchers to discuss the risks for youth

OTTAWA, April 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Health Minister Rona Ambrose hosted a roundtable with representatives of the healthcare community and research experts to discuss the scientific evidence of the risks associated with the use of marijuana by youth, especially over the long term.

This meeting builds on an announcement  where Minister Ambrose announced funding for A Health Promotion and Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth - a national project led by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA).  The goal of this project is to prevent illicit drug use, including marijuana, among Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 through education, national prevention standards and building sustainable partnerships.

Smoking and using marijuana can be dangerous and harmful to health. It is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada and Health Canada does not endorse or promote the use of marijuana.

Quick Facts

  • Marijuana contains hundreds of substances, some of which can affect the proper functioning of the brain and body.
  • Regular, long-term marijuana use in youth can harm concentration, memory, the ability to think and to make decisions, and IQ. Some of these effects may persist after stopping marijuana use.
  • Marijuana use may sometimes produce anxiety or nervousness, paranoia, fear or panic.
  • Marijuana can be addictive.
  • Today's marijuana is stronger than marijuana from many years ago and could put health at a greater risk of harm.
  • There is scientific evidence of the risks associated with the use of marijuana by youth.

Quotes

"As Health Minister, I am standing side by side with medical professionals and researchers with a clear message -- There are serious health risks for youth associated with marijuana.  It is not safe. It should not be promoted or endorsed.  Together, with our partners we will work to make sure youth and parents have the right information about the risks associated with smoking and using marijuana."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Research has shown the negative impact of marijuana on developing minds. As a child psychiatrist, I have seen firsthand the tragic consequences on young Canadians. We need to do more, and the Canadian Medical Association encourages a public health approach that includes a nationwide marijuana cessation campaign to ensure our youth are aware of the real risks and harms associated with marijuana usage."
Dr. Gail Beck
Member, Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors

"The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse was pleased to participate in today's roundtable with Minister Ambrose and some of Canada's leading scientists and researchers to discuss the health risks that marijuana poses for young people.  We will continue to work with Health Canada and other partners, and through our Health Promotion and Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth, to provide factual, coordinated and consistent information to help prevent marijuana use among Canadian youth."
Michel Perron
CEO of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

Participants of the roundtable discussions

  • Dr. Greg Taylor, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Dr. Gail Beck, Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Medical Association
  • Michel Perron, CEO, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Dr. Amy Porath-Waller, Senior Research & Policy Analyst, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Dr. Harold Kalant, Inaugural Council Member, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada
  • Dr. Philip Tibbo, Chair in Psychotic Disorders, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Andra Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Ottawa
  • Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, Associate Professor and The Dr. Joseph Rea Chair in Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Chair/Executive Director, First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP), London Health Sciences Centre, Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute
  • Dr. Joanna Henderson, Clinical scientist, Dept. of Psychiatry at U of T and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

SOURCE Health Canada

Image with caption: "The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, participated in a roundtable discussion on the risks associated with the long term use of marijuana by youth. The Minister was joined by leading researchers in the field. (CNW Group/Health Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140430_C5948_PHOTO_EN_39817.jpg

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