Alarming surge of Canadian pot users ending up at hospital, THOUSANDS develop anxiety disorders afterward: latest warning about legalization says kids at ‘elevated risk’


Rising numbers of stoned Canadians end up at hospital emergency rooms — and a shocking number of them go on to develop anxiety disorders — says the latest study on the dangers of legalization.

Researchers studied millions of Canadians throughout the 2010s, and found that nearly a third of those who showed up at an ER for using weed went on to develop a mental health issue within three years.

For regular ER visits, that figure was just 5.6 percent — suggesting cannabis was linked to a roughly fourfold risk of developing anxiety disorders, says the report in The Lancet.

Researchers warned that men and younger people, aged 10-24 years, were at a greater risk of developing mental health problems, which can range from anxiety to full-on panic attacks. 

A woman smokes cannabis in Canada after the legalization of recreational adult use in 2018. Researchers are now sounding the alarm about the downsides of ever-greater weed consumption

A woman smokes cannabis in Canada after the legalization of recreational adult use in 2018. Researchers are now sounding the alarm about the downsides of ever-greater weed consumption

Cannabis use and associated mental health problems have risen in Canada since legal pot shops, like this in Toronto, Ontario, opened up

Cannabis use and associated mental health problems have risen in Canada since legal pot shops, like this in Toronto, Ontario, opened up  

Dr Daniel Myran, a University of Ottawa researcher, said pot use has rapidly increased in Canada these past 15 years. 

His report is a wake-up call for those who believe the drug ‘is relatively harmless or has health benefits,’ he said.

Dr Daniel Myran warns against heavy cannabis use

‘In some individuals, heavy cannabis use may increase their risk of developing anxiety disorders,’ Dr Myran said.

Cannabis advocates say the drug has health and social benefits and that making it illegal does little to stop consumption and only leads to high levels of pointless incarceration, often of young black men.

Public attitudes against the drug have shifted markedly, and Canada allowed adult recreational pot use in 2018. 

In the US, 24 states and Washington DC now permit recreational adult use. More than half the US population now lives in a legal weed jurisdiction.

Now, critics say widespread use leads to higher rates of mental health problems, substance abuse — especially among teens and young adults — and even more stoned drivers on the roads, causing car crashes. 

Dr Myran’s study, which also involved ICES, the Bruyère Research Institute, and The Ottawa Hospital, adds to a growing body of evidence about the dangers of legalization across North America.

Researchers examined the health records of more than 12 million Ontario residents with no history of anxiety disorders between 2008 and 2019. 

Even some conservative-leaning states are among those to permit recreational adult weed use

Even some conservative-leaning states are among those to permit recreational adult weed use 

Fully 27.5 percent of the pot users who were admitted to ER for a cannabis issue went on to be diagnosed with a new anxiety disorder within three years, researchers found.

They were also nine times more likely to require another health care visit than others for an anxiety disorder down the road.

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Those suffering from anxiety can experience excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations as well as intense bouts of fear or terror, often called panic attacks, the Mayo Clinic says.

Public attitudes have shifted fast in Canada and the US. Gallup polling shows that an overwhelming seven in 10 Americans now say pot should be legal.

At the turn of the century, less than a third of Americans felt that way.

Cannabis advocates say it has health and social benefits and that making it illegal does little to stop consumption and only leads to high levels of pointless incarceration, often of young black men.

It’s still illegal under federal law in the US, but that could change too.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says it’s ‘conducting its review’ about softening federal regulation of weed under the Controlled Substances Act.

It may be downgraded from Schedule I, where it’s classed as a high-risk substance alongside heroin and LSD.

The results of this alleged driving-while-stoned crash in Hempstead, New York, caused the deaths of four people

The results of this alleged driving-while-stoned crash in Hempstead, New York, caused the deaths of four people 

US attitudes toward cannabis have changed beyond recognition in just a few decades

US attitudes toward cannabis have changed beyond recognition in just a few decades 

Millions more Americans got hooked on marijuana in 2022 and some 100,000 teenagers tried it for the first time, official data show.

The number of teens and adults suffering from cannabis use disorder jumped 14 percent to 19 million, says a National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey released in November.

New York City teachers say they’re battling a surge in students who turn up at high school stoned.

Incidents involving illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and alcohol in the city’s schools shot up 17 percent in the year until September 2023.

Officials pointed to the more than 2,000 unlicensed dispensaries that sprang up across the city since legalization in 2021.

Critics say the bright candy-like packaging of these gummies attracts children by design

Critics say the bright candy-like packaging of these gummies attracts children by design 

Children increasingly end up in hospital after mistakenly popping a parents' THC gummy

Children increasingly end up in hospital after mistakenly popping a parents’ THC gummy

They sell strains of cannabis three times stronger than those on the illicit market 25 years ago.

Weed is also making the roads more dangerous.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the number of car crash injuries rose nearly six percent in states that legalize recreational cannabis use.

What are the health risks of marijuana?

About 48million Americans smoke cannabis at least once a year, official estimates suggest.

Marijuana is the third-most commonly used drug in the US behind alcohol and tobacco. 

This figure is rising as states continue to legalize the drug.

24 US states and Washington DC have legalized the drug for recreational use for adults. 

But evidence is also growing over its health risks, particularly for young adults.

Researchers suggest it has the following negative impacts:

  • Brain damage: It can cause a permanent loss of IQ because it hinders brain development and could even have lasting cognition effects in young adults;
  • Mental health: It has been linked to increased rates of suicide as well as psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, although it is unclear if marijuana is the cause;
  • Daily life: Surveys link it to more problems in careers and maintaining healthy relationships;
  • Driving: Those who drive under the influence have slower reactions and less coordination, research shows.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

Another recent study found that the number of young kids who ate marijuana-laced candy rose sharply in the US over five years, putting many in hospital.

Between 2017 and 2021, US poison control centers witnessed a 14-fold increase in calls about youngsters who got their hands on cannabis edibles, according to a 2023 study in the journal Pediatrics.

Though many of the children experienced only minor symptoms, like excessive sleepiness, researchers said nearly a quarter ended up in hospital and warned about the emergence of a new household safety hazard.

Still, America is not on a one-way street to legalization.

Voters don’t approve every ballot measures, as was the case recently in conservative Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

Voters in Florida, Idaho, Nebraska could have their say in ballot measures in November.

In Oregon, lawmakers have been forced into an embarrassing U-turn in drugs policy.

The state became the first in the country to decriminalize the possession of all drugs including heroin and cocaine in 2020.

Now, they’re moving to re-criminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs in the face of rampant public drug use and overdose-related deaths more than tripling.

Kevin Sabet, an anti-pot campaigner and former White House drug tsar, says it’s clear that breakneck legalization of drugs has failed.

Lawmakers need to start getting serious with Big Weed and protect children and young people from its super-strength products.

States that allow weed need to slap ‘strict potency caps’ on products, monitor the industry and make the public aware of the dangers, he said.

‘High-potency commercial marijuana and THC drugs simply aren’t safe,’ he added.   

America’s $30 billion legalized cannabis industry is causing an ‘explosion’ of teen users

Teenagers in states that have legalized cannabis use more of it and are lured by colorfully-packaged candy-like products that leave them vulnerable to higher rates of dependency, psychosis and school dropouts, researchers warn.

A DailyMail.com analysis of research focusing on California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and other states that have legalized recreational pot shows experts warning of a ‘potential explosion’ of under-aged use — and more youngsters using it than in states where it’s illegal.

Renee Goodwin, a psychiatric and substance use epidemiologist who leads Columbia University¿s research, says teen cannabis use grows faster after legalization

Renee Goodwin, a psychiatric and substance use epidemiologist who leads Columbia University’s research, says teen cannabis use grows faster after legalization  

They are alarmed by the weak oversight of a $30 billion business and warn of a free-for-all market in which super-strength cannabis products are sold in cartoon-covered packaging that attracts youngsters, even as tobacco and alcohol firms are barred from targeting youths.

Data from the states that have permitted recreational pot this past decade, as well as others that permit medical use, indicates that teens and young adults there are using stronger products more often.

Not every teen who eats a pot gummy sees their life unravel. But they are more prone to addiction and dependency than adults, and greater availability and use means more cases of anxiety, depression, psychosis and even suicide.

‘Cannabis use is more common among youth and adults in states where cannabis use is legal for recreational use,’ Renee Goodwin, who leads Columbia University’s research, told DailyMail.com.

‘Legalization has moved from a social justice issue, to the other extreme of big business commercialization without any of the same restrictions that tobacco and alcohol now need to follow.’

Mary Maas, 57, from Washington, which legalized weed in 2012, told DailyMail.com how her son Adam, 26, spiraled into a devastating addiction to super-strength pot products worlds apart from the ‘Woodstock weed’ she recalls from the 1960s.

Now, she looks at the potent oils, vapes, dabs, drinks and gummies sold at a growing number of dispensaries, as well as the down-and-outs living in tents under Seattle’s I-5 highway, and urges other states to heed Washington’s lessons.

‘They’d better watch out,’ she said.



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