News Release: Health Unit Launches Cannabis Safety Campaign for Young Adults
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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 | 12:30 P.M. | Windsor-Essex County
Health officials urge caution for those under 25 when it comes to cannabis.
With the opening of Ontario’s first cannabis retail stores this month, and cannabis enthusiasts preparing for the first April 20th (4-20) celebration day since legalization, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has launched an education campaign for students and young adults aimed at lowering risk for negative health outcomes associated with using the newly legal product. Although Windsor-Essex will not be home to a cannabis retail outlet in the near future, cannabis remains available legally through the provincially controlled Ontario Cannabis Store.
In spite of legalization, health officials urge a cautious approach to consuming cannabis in any form, especially if you belong to certain groups. In particular, for those under the age of 25, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those with a history of mental illness, cannabis should never be used, but for others, safer consumption practices could help to lower their risk for short and long-term harms. According to Melissa Valentik, Health Promotion Specialist at the Health Unit, “There remain a lot of questions and very few sources for accurate and credible information on the negative health effects and safer ways to consume this newly legal product.”
The Health Unit hopes to answer questions about cannabis in a new awareness campaign for the month of April targeting young adults in Windsor-Essex County. Promotions in bus shelters, buses, movie theatres, social media, and on the University of Windsor and St. Clair College campuses warn youth and young adults under age 25 of some of the risks they could be exposed to if they consume cannabis. According to Valentik, these risks include both short and long-term harms, “It’s important for young adults to know that starting cannabis use early and using heavily can lead to long-term or permanent damage to brain function, including memory, learning, and judgment as well as an increased risk for dependence or the development of mental illness.”
The Cannabis: Your Questions, Answered campaign encourages young people to delay use until after the brain is fully developed at age 25 and, for adults who choose to use, to practice safer methods of consumption to lower their risk. Some suggestions include, not using cannabis more than once per week, choosing lower THC products, and avoiding co-use with alcohol or tobacco.
For more information on how to lower your risk of harm from cannabis and find local services to help with addiction to cannabis or other drugs, visit www.wechu.org/cannabis and follow the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit on Twitter and Facebook.
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)