The FMSQ supports the proposed bill to raise the legal age for cannabis consumption to 21
- For medical reasons, the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) considers there are health risks to consuming cannabis before the age of 21.
- The FMSQ hopes the government will concentrate on education and awareness to prevent the problems of consuming cannabis and its long-term effects on health.
Montreal, December 5, 2018 – The FMSQ supports raising the legal age for consuming cannabis to 21, as proposed in Bill 2, An Act to tighten the regulation of cannabis, tabled by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Mr. Lionel Carmant. For medical reasons, the FMSQ considers that any measure that aims to delay the age at which cannabis is consumed for the first time is good for the health of young Quebeckers.
Among the number of illnesses associated with the consumption of cannabis are lung cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease, incidence of asthma and bronchitis, high-risk pregnancies, harmful interactions with certain types of medication, neurodegenerative disease, cardiac disease, polyintoxications requiring emergency care, trauma resulting from road accidents, and an increase in the occurrence of digestive and reproductive health problems.
"We are concerned and of the opinion that consuming cannabis will result in an increase of certain diseases and that it is a good idea to delay as much as possible the first consumption of cannabis. In fact, a recent scientific study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry demonstrates that young people who stop smoking cannabis for a single week see their school results and their memory improve very rapidly," explains the President of the FMSQ, Dr Diane Francœur.
"Another study published in the Journal of Neurosciences shows that changes occur in the regions of the brain associated with emotions in young people smoking cannabis at least once a week," adds Dr Francœur.
Cigarettes and Cannabis
The FMSQ presented two white papers, in 2017 and in 2018, within the framework of the Government of Quebec's public consultations on the consequences of legalizing cannabis. Several specialists expressed their concerns in these papers, including psychiatrists, pediatricians, pneumologists, cardiologists, oto-rhino-laryngologists, obstetrician-gynecologists, urologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists and infectiologists. The report mentioned that the fact of smoking, whether cigarettes or another tobacco product, predisposes individuals to consume cannabis. This causal effect has been demonstrated in numerous studies, including that of the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ).
Cannabis in All Its Forms
The health threat of cannabis also extends to ingestible cannabis products, whether solid or liquid. The FMSQ would expect a framework of strict regulations and rigorous control measures. Indeed, there have recently been reports of elderly people being intoxicated.
Level of THC
The FMSQ also wishes that the acceptable level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis, or its derivatives, be established and subject to rigorous control measures. The causal link between the level of THC and the creation of an addiction to the product must also be studied by the Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).
Costs for the Network and Investment in Prevention
We can expect an increase in the cost of care associated with the consumption of cannabis. The financing of such care must not be detrimental to other types of care or prevention. The FMSQ insists that revenues from sales taxes be used to finance the prevention, awareness and education of the population, young people in particular, regarding the effects of cannabis.