Recreational Cannabis Legalization in Canada: A Pediatrics Perspective

Subst Use Misuse. 2022;57(3):481-483. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2021.2012689. Epub 2022 Jan 27.


Background: Despite its controversial nature, the use of recreational marijuana and cannabis-derived products continue to increase in popularity. Cannabis consumption is currently legal in certain American states as well as Canada, and it is also frequently used by Canadian youth. However, cannabis use during childhood and adolescence can contribute to significant harm. Materials andMethods: A review of current literature regarding the impacts of cannabis consumption among Canadian youth was conducted. Medline, Cochrane, Embase and PubMed databases were utilized to identify journal articles published within 10 years that highlighted the impacts of cannabis consumption in its different forms among the North American pediatric population. Results: Our review identified harms include structural and functional impairments in the developing brain, the development of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, impaired road safety while driving under the influence of cannabis, and the significant consequences of accidental ingestion of cannabis products by children. We also ascertained that cannabis cessation strategies that employed an affective model, which explores the root causes of adolescents turning to cannabis, are most effective in reducing substance use among adolescents. Conclusions: In light of the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada, the purpose of this article was to provide background on cannabis consumption and its legalization in Canada, the impacts of cannabis on Canadian youth, and evidence-based strategies to help mitigate them.

Keywords: Cannabis; legalization; neurodevelopment; pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cannabis*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Pediatrics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • United States