Home > The effects of cannabis use during adolescence.

George, T and Vaccarino, F, eds. (2015) The effects of cannabis use during adolescence. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

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So what does this report tell us about the health effects of adolescent cannabis use? First and foremost, cannabis is not a harmless drug. It can be addictive and the risk increases the earlier it is used. Early and frequent use also increases the risk of short-term cognitive impairment and under performing in school, as well as psychotic symptoms and disorders. Cannabis use significantly impairs coordination and reaction time, so it is not surprising that it is the most common illicit drug found to be involved in car accidents, including fatal ones. And although we do not know the full extent of the impact of early cannabis use on long-term cognitive ability and associated educational and occupational successes, evidence is mounting that cannabis affects the young brain in a harmful way that cannot be ignored.

This report presents an immediate opportunity to enhance youth drug use prevention and intervention programs, as well as emerging policy frameworks, with factual information and in a fashion that has been shown to work. We know that cannabis is not a benign substance. It has clear harms and poses risks to those who use it on a regular and frequent basis, including negative health, economic and social ramifications. It is now up to readers to take the information in this report and use it to help reduce the incidence of harms associated with cannabis use among adolescents, to help young people make smarter and more informed choices about their todays and their tomorrows.

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