Cannabis and The Development of Canadian Youth By: Jessica Wiersma (My…
Cannabis and The Development of Canadian Youth
By: Jessica Wiersma
My Professional Field: Physiotherapy
Changes due to legalization
Currently there are no changes to how physiotherapists treat individuals who use marijuana
What to do if you suspect a patient is impaired due to marijuana?
If a physiotherapist suspects their client is impaired, they are not to perform treatment
This is due to the fact that the individual cannot provide consent to treatment or may be a risk to themselves or those around them.
This is treated the same as if the individual is under the influence of alcohol
I believe, that physiotherapy and kinesiology is not just about improving physical injuries. As such, physiotherapists and kinesiologists must be aware of any concerning changes to their patients and their wellbeing.
Due to my desire to work with children, teenagers, and young adults during my career, I will be focusing on the impact that marijuana use has on childhood development
I have a large interest in childhood development due to courses that I have taken throughout my undergraduate degree. After reading several articles that examined the impact on children, I think that this is an area that needs to be further examined.
Physiotherapists have been advised to provide sources of information if a client has questions regarding marijuana
Physiotherapists must be aware of the risks and be able to communicate the risks to their patients
Physiotherapists CANNOT prescribe or encourage patients to use marijuana
General Background Information
Became legal on October 17, 2018
Average age that Canadians began using cannabis: 18.6 years old
Percentage of Canadians using cannabis (aged 15 or older): 15%
Most likely to use cannabis: Men between the ages of 15-24
It is a way for researchers, doctors, government, etc. to find out new information about the effects of marijuana.
More research will be conducted now to look at the side effects it has on different groups.
Individuals at risk for mental illnesses
Research on marijuana prior to legalization was limited.
Risks/consequences of marijuana consumption
How marijuana can be used medically
Side Effects Associated with High Doses and Long-term Usage
Increased Heart Rate
Nausea and Vomiting
Medical Usage Prior to Legalization
Spinal Cord Injuries or Spinal Cord Disease
End of Life Care
Impact on the Brain
The human brain develops up until the age of 25
Children, teenagers, and young adults are advised to wait as long as possible before starting to use and experiment with cannabis.
Marijuana use can re-wire the brain
Changes to the axonal connectivity
Decrease in the size of the orbitofrontal cortex
Responsible for impulse control and making decisions when comparing objects
Also is part of emotional control (regulates changes in emotions)
Impact on the Mental Health of Children, Teenagers, and Young Adults
The more teens use marijuana, the more likely they are to develop mental health concerns
Increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia
Using marijuana can aggravate the symptoms of individual who have been diagnosed mental health.
Cannabis may help over the short-term (producing feelings of relaxation) but has not shown long-term improvements
Decreased improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms over a six month period.
The greater the THC concentration levels, the more of an impact cannabis has on existing mental illnesses
If there is a family history of mental illness, combined with using cannabis, the individual is more likely to develop mental health concerns
Impact on Education
Cannabis has been found to impact the individuals IQ level compared to non-cannabis users
In a longitudinal study, frequent cannabis users were found to have a greater decline in their IQ levels from childhood to adulthood
Cannabis can impact an individuals memory and concentration
Friends were able to notice problems with the users attention and memory
Individuals may be able to regain the deficits in memory and concentration by abstaining from using cannabis
However, it is unlikely that they will be able to regain cognitive function in all the impaired areas
Questions and Concerns Regarding Legalization
Is there truly a time in our lives where cannabis use does not have negative impacts on the individual?
Should the legal age to purchase, use, and grow cannabis be increased?
By increasing it, would adolescents be more likely to find illegal means of obtaining the substance?
Is there a difference between frequent usage, recreational usage, or medicinal usage?
Will they all have long-term negative impacts?
Should younger individuals only be allowed to purchase cannabis with lower concentrations of THC?