The Rules Around Recreational Cannabis
Last month, Canada legalized the recreational use of cannabis and psychiatrists are adamant that the age-limit for cannabis should be 21. Although this is the case, lawmakers are following through with their promise. They do not want to allow recreational marijuana to become a “free for all”. Furthermore, it appears psychiatrists are at the forefront in creating the new rules of the game.
Progress towards recreational cannabis is underway in the U.S. Lawmakers are working at the same pace as Canada concerning the rules for regulation. For example, decision-makers are trying to decide what age is appropriate for recreational use. Around the world, standards exist for nicotine and alcohol. Therefore, age restrictions for marijuana will likely be put into place.
Psychiatrists with The Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) urged lawmakers to set the legal age for cannabis use to 21. Some research suggests that cannabis use during brain development may cause psychosis or schizophrenia.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA), recommends the age limit for recreational cannabis to be set to twenty-five. They explain that young adults using marijuana prior to this age may be more prone to problems. Some identified concerns included: addiction, mental illness, and injuries from impaired driving. Furthermore, the CMA warns against possible negative effects on mental health.
What Does the Current Research Discuss?
A study done in 2015 looked twins and their brain structures. They compared those who used cannabis and those who did not. They found cannabis users had a smaller amygdala. Although this is true, the difference found in the size of the amygdala were more likely caused by genetics and environmental factors.
Furthermore, the amygdala sizes were in normal range. A study assessed the causes between cannabis and schizophrenia. They claimed genetics may, in fact, play a bigger role in the diagnosis of schizophrenia compared to cannabis use alone.
What does this mean? Some studies show a possible connection between cannabis use and harmful outcomes. All in all, researchers find it difficult to define the causal factor. This is a big deal. How can psychiatrists claim cannabis is the cause for ill effects? This is especially true since nobody knows the legit cause. Moreover, one of the concerns outlined by the CMA included impaired driving. To date, no research exists to prove this.
Where does this leave us?
Research needs funding if lawmakers want to add age restrictions on cannabis consumption. The FDA does not require strict regulations on other drugs. Oftentimes, they require a small amount of research to release a new pill on the market. Doctors prescribe pills like antipsychotics and amphetamines to children as young as three or four years old. Perhaps, we should concern ourselves with these major issues.
This is especially true before people begin to make claims about the effects of cannabis on development! As a matter of fact, current legal substances cause more problems than weed. Alcohol is much more harmful than cannabis. Moreover, many cops want marijuana decriminalized.