The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) recently announced that they will be conducting a five-year study of the effect of cannabis use on mental health – both positive and negative.

From the MHCC: Over the next five years, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) will help close the research gap on the potential harms and benefits of cannabis use on mental health, providing a foundation for future policy decisions. Budget 2018 allocated $10 million over five years for this work.

“Our initial review of the literature has found that the illegal status of cannabis, which limited how a study could be done and what data could be collected, has left us with critical knowledge gaps about cannabis use and its impact on mental health,” said Ed Mantler, Vice President of Programs and Priorities at the MHCC. Cannabis use will become legal and regulated in Canada as of October 17, 2018.

The negative impacts of cannabis use on mental health outcomes, the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, the influence of mental health problems and illnesses on patterns of cannabis use, and the experiences and needs of diverse populations who live with cannabis use disorder and/or a mental illness are not well understood. The MHCC is well positioned to engage a diversity of Canadians including youth, emerging adults and seniors as well as LGBTQ2+, Indigenous, immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized populations.

Canada has one of the highest cannabis consumption rates in the world, with more than 40 per cent of Canadians reporting they had used it at least once in their lifetime. Fifty-four per cent of youth in Canada report using cannabis before grade 12.

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