The Devil Is in the Details! On Regulating Cannabis Use in Canada Based on Public Health Criteria Comment on "Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana in Canada: Review of Potential Economic, Social, and Health Impacts".
ABSTRACT: This commentary to the editorial of Hajizadeh argues that the economic, social and health consequences of legalizing cannabis in Canada will depend in large part on the exact stipulations (mainly from the federal government) and on the implementation, regulation and practice of the legalization act (on provincial and municipal levels). A strict regulatory framework is necessary to minimize the health burden attributable to cannabis use. This includes prominently control of production and sale of the legal cannabis including control of price and content with ban of marketing and advertisement. Regulation of medical marijuana should be part of such a framework as well.
Project description:<b>Introduction and Aims:</b> Increasingly more Australians are in favor of legalizing medical and recreational cannabis use. This paper explored the personal characteristics of those who supported each of these policies in Australia. <b>Design:</b> Cross-sectional national survey. <b>Methods:</b> This study included 21,729 participants aged 18 years and above who responded to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Participants were provided the assurance of confidentiality for their participations. Logistic regression models were used to examine the relationships between personal characteristics and support for the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. <b>Results:</b> Overall, 77 and 40% of participants supported the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis respectively. People of older age were more likely to support medical cannabis legalization while those who supported legalization of recreational cannabis use were more likely to be younger. Medical cannabis supporters were more likely to report chronic pain (OR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.00) while recreational cannabis supporters were more likely to suffer high level of psychological distress (OR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.43). Experience with cannabis use was strongly associated with supportive attitudes, with recent cannabis users almost 14 times (OR = 14.13, 95% CI: 5.37, 37.20) and 34 times (OR = 33.74, 95% CI: 24.22, 47.01) more likely to support the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use, respectively. <b>Discussion and Conclusions:</b> The majority of Australians approve the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes but most remain cautious about legalizing recreational cannabis use. The sociodemographic and clinical profile of supporters of medical and recreational legalization suggests a potential interaction of self-interests and beliefs about the harms of cannabis use.
Project description:A recent editorial in this journal provides a summary of key economic, social, and public health considerations of the forthcoming legislation to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana in Canada. As our government plans to implement an evidence-based public health framework for marijuana legalization, we reflect and expand on recent discussions of the public health implications of marijuana legalization, and offer additional points of consideration. We select two commonly cited public concerns of marijuana legalization - adolescent usage and impaired driving - and discuss how the underdeveloped and equivocal body of scientific literature surrounding these issues limits the ability to predict the effects of legalization. Finally, we discuss the potential for some potential public health benefits of marijuana legalization - specifically the potential for marijuana to be used as a substitute to opioids and other risky substance use - that have to date not received adequate attention.
Project description:In the United States (US), recreational cannabis use is on the rise. Since 2011, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use. As additional states consider legalizing, there is an urgent need to assess associations between recreational cannabis legalization and maternal use in the preconception, prenatal, and postpartum periods-all critical windows for maternal and child health. Using cross-sectional data from the 2016 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, we assessed associations between state cannabis legalization and self-reported maternal cannabis use. Using logistic regression, we estimated the adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) of cannabis use during the preconception, prenatal, and postpartum period for women delivering a live-born infant in three states that had legalized recreational cannabis (Alaska, Colorado, and Washington) and three states that had not legalized (Maine, Michigan, and New Hampshire) by 2016. Our final sample size was 7258 women. We utilized 95% confidence intervals (CI) and a significance level of alpha = 0.05. After adjustment for potential confounders, women who resided in states with legalized recreational cannabis were significantly more likely to use cannabis during the preconception (PR 1.52; 95%CI ranging from 1.28-1.80; p < 0.001), prenatal (PR 2.21; 95% CI ranging from 1.67-2.94; p < 0.001), and postpartum (PR 1.73; 95%CI ranging from 1.30-2.30; p < 0.001) periods, compared to women who resided in states without legalized recreational cannabis. Although evidence about the effect of marijuana use during these periods is nascent, these findings show potential for increased incidence of child exposure to cannabis. Longitudinal research is needed to assess immediate and sustained impacts of maternal use before and after state legalization of recreational cannabis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:On Oct. 17, 2018, Canada legalized recreational cannabis with the dual goals of reducing youth use and eliminating the illicit cannabis market. We examined factors associated with access to physical cannabis stores across Canada 6 months following legalization. METHODS:We extracted the address and operating hours of all legal cannabis stores in Canada from online government and private listings. We conducted a descriptive study examining the association between private/hybrid (mixture of government and private stores) and government-only retail models with 4 measures of physical access to cannabis: store density, weekly hours of operation, median distance to the nearest school and relative availability of cannabis stores between low- and high-income neighbourhoods. RESULTS:Six months after legalization, there were 260 cannabis retail stores across Canada: 181 privately run stores, 55 government-run stores and 24 stores in the hybrid retail system. Compared to jurisdictions with a government-run model, jurisdictions with a private/hybrid retail model had 49% (95% confidence interval 10%-200%) more stores per capita, retailers were open on average 9.2 more hours per week, and stores were located closer to schools (median 166.7 m). In both retail models, there was over twice the concentration of cannabis stores in neighbourhoods in the lowest income quintile compared to the highest income quintile. INTERPRETATION:Marked differences in physical access to cannabis retail are emerging between jurisdictions with private/hybrid retail models and those with government-only retail models. Ongoing surveillance including monitoring differences in cannabis use and harms across jurisdictions is needed.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:While the United States has been experiencing an opioid epidemic, 29 states and Washington DC have legalized cannabis for medical use. This study examined whether state-wide medical cannabis legalization was associated with reduction in opioids received by Medicaid enrollees. DESIGN:Secondary data analysis of state-level opioid prescription records from 1993-2014 Medicaid State Drug Utilization Data. Linear time-series regressions assessed the associations between medical cannabis legalization and opioid prescriptions, controlling for state-level time-varying policy covariates (such as prescription drug monitoring programs) and socio-economic covariates (such as income). SETTING:United States. PARTICIPANTS:Drug prescription records for patients enrolled in fee-for-service Medicaid programs that primarily provide health-care coverage to low-income and disabled people. MEASUREMENTS:The primary outcomes were population-adjusted number, dosage and Medicaid spending on opioid prescriptions. Outcomes for Schedule II opioids (e.g. hydrocodone, oxycodone) and Schedule III opioids (e.g. codeine) were analyzed separately. The primary policy variable of interest was the implementation of state-wide medical cannabis legalization. FINDINGS:For Schedule III opioid prescriptions, medical cannabis legalization was associated with a 29.6% (P = 0.03) reduction in number of prescriptions, 29.9% (P = 0.02) reduction in dosage and 28.8% (P = 0.04) reduction in related Medicaid spending. No evidence was found to support the associations between medical cannabis legalization and Schedule II opioid prescriptions. Permitting medical cannabis dispensaries was not associated with Schedule II or Schedule III opioid prescriptions after controlling for medical cannabis legalization. It was estimated that, if all the states had legalized medical cannabis by 2014, Medicaid annual spending on opioid prescriptions would be reduced by 17.8 million dollars. CONCLUSION:State-wide medical cannabis legalization appears to have been associated with reductions in both prescriptions and dosages of Schedule III (but not Schedule II) opioids received by Medicaid enrollees in the United States.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Whether medical or recreational cannabis legalization impacts alcohol or cigarette consumption is a key question as cannabis policy evolves, given the adverse health effects of these substances. Relatively little research has examined this question. The objective of this study was to examine whether medical or recreational cannabis legalization was associated with any change in state-level per capita alcohol or cigarette consumption.<h4>Methods</h4>Dependent variables included per capita consumption of alcohol and cigarettes from all 50 U.S. states, estimated from state tax receipts and maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, respectively. Independent variables included indicators for medical and recreational legalization policies. Three different types of indicators were separately used to model medical cannabis policies. Indicators for the primary model were based on the presence of active medical cannabis dispensaries. Secondary models used indicators based on either the presence of a more liberal medical cannabis policy ("non-medicalized") or the presence of any medical cannabis policy. Difference-in-difference regression models were applied to estimate associations for each type of policy.<h4>Results</h4>Primary models found no statistically significant associations between medical or recreational cannabis legalization policies and either alcohol or cigarette sales per capita. In a secondary model, both medical and recreational policies were associated with significantly decreased per capita cigarette sales compared to states with no medical cannabis policy. However, post hoc analyses demonstrated that these reductions were apparent at least two years prior to policy adoption, indicating that they likely result from other time-varying characteristics of legalization states, rather than cannabis policy.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We found no evidence of a causal association between medical or recreational cannabis legalization and changes in either alcohol or cigarette sales per capita.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Choice of minimum legal age (MLA) for cannabis use is a critical and contentious issue in legalization of non-medical cannabis. In Canada where non-medical cannabis was recently legalized in October 2018, the federal government recommended age 18, the medical community argued for 21 or even 25, while public consultations led most Canadian provinces to adopt age 19. However, no research has compared later life outcomes of first using cannabis at these different ages to assess their merits as MLAs. METHODS:We used doubly robust regression techniques and data from nationally representative Canadian surveys to compare educational attainment, cigarette smoking, self-reported general and mental health associated with different ages of first cannabis use. RESULTS:We found different MLAs for different outcomes: 21 for educational attainment, 19 for cigarette smoking and mental health and 18 for general health. Assuming equal weight for these individual outcomes, the 'overall' MLA for cannabis use was estimated to be 19?years. Our results were robust to various robustness checks. CONCLUSION:Our study indicated that there is merit in setting 19?years as MLA for non-medical cannabis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Whilst many studies have linked increased drug and cannabis exposure to adverse mental health (MH) outcomes their effects on whole populations and geotemporospatial relationships are not well understood. METHODS:Ecological cohort study of National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) geographically-linked substate-shapefiles 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 supplemented by five-year US American Community Survey. Drugs: cigarettes, alcohol abuse, last-month cannabis use and last-year cocaine use. MH: any mental illness, major depressive illness, serious mental illness and suicidal thinking. DATA ANALYSIS:two-stage, geotemporospatial, robust generalized linear regression and causal inference methods in R. RESULTS:410,138 NSDUH respondents. Average response rate 76.7%. When drug and sociodemographic variables were combined in geospatial models significant terms including tobacco, alcohol, cannabis exposure and various ethnicities remained in final models for all four major mental health outcomes. Interactive terms including cannabis were related to any mental illness (?-estimate?=?1.97 (95%C.I. 1.56-2.37), P?<? 2.2?×?10-?16), major depressive episode (?-estimate?=?2.03 (1.54-2.52), P?=?3.6?×?10-?16), serious mental illness (SMI, ?-estimate?=?2.04 (1.48-2.60), P?=?1.0?×?10-?12), suicidal ideation (?-estimate?=?1.99 (1.52-2.47), P?<? 2.2?×?10-?16) and in each case cannabis alone was significantly associated (from ?-estimate?=?-?3.43 (-?4.46 - -2.42), P?=?3.4?×?10-?11) with adverse MH outcomes on complex interactive regression surfaces. Geospatial modelling showed a monotonic upward trajectory of SMI which doubled (3.62 to 7.06%) as cannabis use increased. Extrapolated to whole populations cannabis decriminalization (4.26%, (4.18, 4.34%)), Prevalence Ratio (PR)?=?1.035(1.034-1.036), attributable fraction in the exposed (AFE)?=?3.28%(3.18-3.37%), P?<?10-?300) and legalization (4.75% (4.65, 4.84%), PR?=?1.155 (1.153-1.158), AFE?=?12.91% (12.72-13.10%), P?<?10-?300) were associated with increased SMI vs. illegal status (4.26, (4.18-4.33%)). CONCLUSIONS:Data show all four indices of mental ill-health track cannabis exposure across space and time and are robust to multivariable adjustment for ethnicity, socioeconomics and other drug use. MH deteriorated with cannabis legalization. Cannabis use-MH data are consistent with causal relationships in the forward direction and include dose-response and temporal-sequential relationships. Together with similar international reports and numerous mechanistic studies preventative action to reduce cannabis use is indicated.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Government of Canada legalized nonmedical use of cannabis in October 2018. Our objectives were to determine the percentage of Canadians intending to try or increase their cannabis use following legalization and to explore characteristics associated with this intent. METHODS:We used data from the 2018 National Cannabis Survey and constructed multivariable regression models. Respondents' data were weighted and bootstrapped. We report relative measures of association as adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and absolute measures of association as adjusted risk increases (RIs). RESULTS:Among the 39 000 households selected for recruitment for the survey, 17 089 respondents provided complete data (43.8%) and our weighted analysis represented 27 808 081 Canadians aged 15 years and older. An estimated 18.5% of respondents (95% confidence interval [CI] 17.6%-19.5%) indicated they intended to try or increase cannabis use following legalization. Being more likely to try or increase cannabis use was associated with younger age (15-24 yr v. ≥ 65 yr; adjusted OR 3.8, 95% CI 2.6-5.6; adjusted RI 20.1%, 95% CI 13.9%-26.2%), cannabis use in the past 3 months versus no use (adjusted OR 3.3, 95% CI 2.8-3.9; adjusted RI 20.4%, 95% CI 17.1%-23.6%), higher income (≥ $80 000 v. < $40 000; adjusted OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.3-1.9; adjusted RI 6.1%, 95% CI 3.2%-9.0%) and poor or fair mental health versus good to excellent mental health (adjusted OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.6-2.6; adjusted RI 11.5%, 95% CI 6.7%-16.2%). INTERPRETATION:Nearly 1 in 5 respondents reported that they intended to try or increase cannabis use after legalization; however, intention may not translate into behaviour. Continued monitoring should help to establish rates and patterns of cannabis use among Canadians following legalization.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The illicit selling and use of cannabis is prevalent among marginalized people who use illicit drugs (PWUD). Given that participation in illicit drug markets has been previously associated with a range of health and social harms, we sought to examine the predictors of selling cannabis among PWUD in Vancouver, Canada, a setting with a de facto legalized cannabis market, on the eve of the planned implementation of legalized non-medical cannabis including measures to regulate the existing illicit market. METHODS:Multivariable generalized estimating equations (GEE) logistic regression was used to analyze longitudinal factors associated with selling illicit cannabis among three prospective cohorts of PWUD between September 2005 and May 2015. RESULTS:Among the 3258 participants included in this study, 328 (10.1%) reported selling illicit cannabis at baseline, and 46 (5.1%) initiated cannabis selling over the study period. In the multivariable analysis of the whole sample, factors significantly associated with selling cannabis included cannabis use (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]?=?4.05), dealing other drugs (AOR?=?3.87), being male (AOR?=?1.83), experiencing violence (AOR?=?1.40), non-medical prescription opioid use (AOR?=?1.32), non-custodial involvement in the criminal justice system (AOR?=?1.31), being stopped by police (AOR?=?1.30), crack use (AOR?=?1.25), homelessness (AOR?=?1.23), age (AOR?=?0.96 per year) and participation in sex work (AOR?=?0.67) (all p?<?0.05). The subanalyses indicated that dealing drugs other than cannabis, cannabis use, and non-custodial involvement in the criminal justice system were the only factors significantly associated with selling cannabis in all four subgroups. CONCLUSION:These findings support existing evidence indicating that selling illicit cannabis is often a survival-driven strategy to support the basic needs and substance use of some PWUD. Our findings suggest jurisdictions with planned or impending cannabis legalization and regulation should consider the vulnerability of PWUD when seeking to eradicate illicit cannabis markets, for example, in setting criminal penalties for selling cannabis outside of regulatory frameworks.