Alcohol, not cannabis, remains the greatest job creator for frontline emergency workers in the Canadian health system.
After 6+ months of legalization, hospitals are reporting that the government’s green light on Canadian bud has not resulted in any discernible differences with regards to cannabis-related cases.
In the lead-up to legalization there had been widespread fears that the recreational market would lead to a severe increase in both physical and mental health issues. Prior to legalization, Pollara Strategic Insights conducted a survey reporting that 50 per cent of Canadians believed the laws would harm residents’ mental and physical well-being.
“We haven’t seen any difference,” says Dr. Sam Sabbah, director of emergency medicine at UHN, which operates ERs at its Toronto General and Toronto Western sites.
“We do not have data on this, but anecdotally speaking we have not seen a significant increase in cases post-legalization,” says St. Michael’s Hospital spokesperson Michael Oliveira.
Yet, with the legalization of edibles set for October, a new wave of worry is rising among Canadian health experts.
A widely held belief (fact) is that inexperienced edible users often overindulge due to their tasty treats’ delayed onset. This can lead to a very…VERY unpleasant experience (firsthand knowledge). And while the experience can be terrifying there really are no serious long-lasting side effects and eventually the ordeal will subside.
That said, overconsumption will very likely lead to panicked 911 calls and trips to the ER which can put an unnecessary strain on already limited medical resources.
Remember the two Toronto cops who ate weed brownies while on the job then called for backup, then panicked and took off running when help arrived?
For now at least, feedback from the medical community on legal cannabis remains neutral and alcohol reins supreme as the major cause of harm.
“There’s a lot of concern, amazing restrictions and regulations around cannabis, which causes maybe 1/30th of the harm of alcohol, and we’re totally laid back and relaxed about alcohol,” says Tim Stockwell, lead of the CAPE project and director of the Canadian Institute for Substance Research at the University of Victoria.
Only time will tell if edibles skew the stats.
The Globe And Mail