What's the Buzz about 4/20? Cannabis and Mental Health Canada celebrates and reflects on the recent Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act

April 19, 2024 9:04 AM EDT | Source: Cannabis and Mental Health

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - April 19, 2024) - The recently released final report of the Expert Panel on the Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act points both to causes for celebration and reflection as we approach 4/20 in 2024.

The report highlights successes such as the significant reduction in the number of charges for the possession of cannabis and minimizing the negative impact on some individuals from interactions with the criminal justice system.

It also highlights areas of concern with respect to youth: Canada continues to report among the highest rates of youth cannabis use in the world, and cannabis use among young adults has increased. In fact, surveys suggest that more than 4 in 10 Canadians between the ages of 20 and 24 report using cannabis in the past year.

"Increased use among young Canadians is particularly concerning as youth and young adults are more vulnerable to the potential adverse effects of cannabis," said Dr. Phil Tibbo, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, President of the Canadian Consortium for Early Intervention in Psychosis, and Scientific Advisor for the Cannabis and Mental Health Project. "The rise in use is accompanied by a corresponding shift toward the consumption of higher-potency cannabis products, this with daily or almost daily use of cannabis can have significant mental health implications."

"At SSC we are seeing, on the ground, the struggles youth and their families are facing when it comes to the longer-term risks of cannabis use," said Chris Summerville, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC). "It is so important that youth are educated and can make informed decisions about the use of the substance and develop positive coping strategies and resilience."

The SSC has worked with key partners, with the support of Health Canada, to develop resources aimed at educating youth and the adults in their lives on safer consumption. Cannabis and Mental Health and Cannabis and Psychosis are free, evidence-based, engaging resources designed with a variety of key audiences in mind.

"Speaking from my own experience as a young person and in collaboration with peers, we've discovered that cannabis education is most effective when the resources reflect our real-life experiences and maintain a balanced perspective," said Vijai Raj, Outreach Coordinator of the Cannabis and Mental Health project.

The Cannabis and Mental Health team also offers free, customized workshops to support youth allies, educators, clinicians, family and community members in using the resources to enable critical conversations about mental health and substance use. The activities offer fun ways to help youth build resilience and skills to stay balanced and thrive, now and in the future.

This year on 4/20, let's promote mental health by spreading the word about free, effective and engaging resources to help young Canadians make informed decisions about cannabis use.

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About Cannabis and Mental Health: Cannabis and Mental Health is a project of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, created by and for youth, to raise awareness about the links between cannabis and mental health and inform safe decision making around cannabis. To learn more, visit: www.cannabisandmentalhealth.ca.

About the Schizophrenia Society of Canada: SSC's mission is to build a Canada where people living with early psychosis and schizophrenia achieve their potential. This is possible with early intervention and recovery focused mental health services. The heart and soul of SSC is the conviction that things can be better for those experiencing early psychosis and schizophrenia. Hope changes everything. To learn more, visit: www.schizophrenia.ca.

Jayme Wilson (905) 320-1291

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/206088