Changes in health harms due to cannabis following legalisation of non-medical cannabis in Canada in context of cannabis commercialisation: A scoping review

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2023 Feb;42(2):277-298. doi: 10.1111/dar.13546. Epub 2022 Sep 27.


Issue: On 17 October 2018, Canada legalised non-medical cannabis. Critically, the cannabis market in Canada has changed considerably since legalisation. In this scoping review, we identified available evidence on changes in cannabis-related health harms following legalisation and contextualised findings based on legal market indicators.

Approach: Electronic searches were conducted to identify studies that compared changes in cannabis-related health harms pre- and post-legalisation. We contextualised each study by the mean per capita legal cannabis stores and sales during the study period and compared study means to per capita stores and sales on October 2021-3 years following legalisation.

Implications and conclusions: Some measures of cannabis harms have increased since legalisation but studies to date have captured periods of relatively low market maturity. Longer-term monitoring of health harms as the market continues to expand is indicated.

Keywords: cannabis harms; cannabis policy; commercialisation; non-medical cannabis legalisation; scoping review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Commerce
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug