That’s right: marijuana use has almost doubled in Ontario since 1977, from eight percent to 14 percent in 2005, according to new data from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). That said, today’s cannabis users are older and their use is generally infrequent (less than once a month).
Most adults probably think marijuana is pretty harmless. After all, it’s even used medicinally to treat severe side effects of cancer and multiple sclerosis, for instance. But even minimal use of the stuff—which may be contaminated with other drugs, pesticides or toxic fungi—can impair depth perception and short-term memory and raise the heart rate. Long-term use increases the risks of respiratory irritation and lung cancer.
“Substance use, mainly tobacco and alcohol use, still costs Canada almost $9 billion in health care costs alone each year," adds CAMH senior scientist Dr. Jurgen Rehm.
So, if you’re among that 14 percent, stop bogeying that joint and opt for a runner’s high instead.