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Research, Well-being

Three little-known risks of adolescent cannabis use

In this era of legalization for Canadian adults, a newly released fact sheet by the national EdCan Network of educators entitled Cannabis: What are the risks for students? aims to heighten awareness among K-12 educators, parents and students on three major risks associated with adolescent cannabis use – lower school performance, psychosis, and cannabis use disorder (CUD). Recent scientific studies pinpoint specific areas of the developing adolescent brain that are vulnerable to cannabis.

Authored by Dr. Christina Grant, McMaster University’s Associate Chair for Education with the Department of Pediatrics, this timely resource provides clarity in view of the limited research that currently exists on the consequences of youth cannabis use over long-term periods.

As Dr. Grant asserts in this fact sheet, “As our understanding of the development of the human brain has increased, so too has the potency of THC – the main psychoactive component in cannabis – which has increased by up to 400% over the past fifty years.” This increase in potency could potentially impact brain development, which continues until students’ mid-twenties.

“Educators want to know if and to what extent legalization will impact teaching practice,” says Max Cooke, EdCan Network Interim CEO. “While it’s too early to say how cannabislegalization for adults in Canada will impact youth consumption, what we do know is that adolescents who use cannabis daily or weekly are at risk of lower school performance.”

In addition to the downloadable copy of the fact sheet, available at www.edcan.ca/cannabis, also included are several practical resources to support parents and teachers in beginning important conversations with students on these serious risks.

This fact sheet was made possible with the generous financial support of the Desjardins Foundation and the Canadian Schools Boards Association.


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EdCan Network

The EdCan Network is the independent national organization with over 140,000 members working tirelessly to ensure that all students discover their place, purpose and path.

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