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Aids patients could benefit from the soothing factors of marijuana

Reference List PDF Some of the information we hear about cannabis is conflicting, making it hard to understand the ways it may affect our children. Does it cause psychosis?

Cannabis Use and Youth: A parent's guide

Is it really a medicine? What will happen if my child uses it? What should I tell—or not tell—my child about it? The aim is to help parents weigh the risks and benefits of cannabis use and put them in perspective within their individual situation.

Our goal is to offer you an honest and thoughtful discussion on cannabis so you can make better decisions about cannabis use—or non-use—in the context of your family.

You may have heard. You may have heard a variety of claims about cannabis in the media or in everyday conversation. For instance, you may have heard that cannabis use causes cancer or leads to quitting school. You may have also heard that the risk of developing cancer is low for cannabis smokers and that the drug can help relieve anxiety about school.

As a parent, making sense of these conflicting claims can be confusing. While there is at least some truth in almost all of them, accurate and balanced information about cannabis is more complex than simple statements. Because people are complex beings, and our choices and behaviours are complex too. Even if you have only limited experience with drugs, you likely know more than you think about the key issues.

Most people, for example, understand intuitively that all drugs can be both good and bad. Even medication recommended by a doctor can cause harm, especially if not taken properly. When it comes to cannabis, almost everyone knows people who have had fun or benefitted in some other way from using cannabis or other drugs.

Likewise, most people know of someone who has had bad experiences. Are they the same or different? Hemp stalks are often used to make fibre-based items such as paper and fabric. Cannabis is the scientific name for the hemp plant. There are many different kinds of cannabis.

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The leaves and flowers of each kind produce varying mind-altering and medicinal effects when smoked or consumed. The most talked-about strains of the hemp plant are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.

Marijuana is a Mexican slang word for cannabis leaves and flowers aka buds. Hash, short for hashish, is made of pressed resin from cannabis buds, and is therefore stronger in effect. While most drugs are useful in some way, all drug use carries some risk.

  1. The most talked-about strains of the hemp plant are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.
  2. The level of risk and amount of harm related to cannabis use depends on many factors. While there is an association between cannabis and quitting school, the linkages may be the result of common factors—personality traits or family issues, for example—that increase the risks of both cannabis use and dropping out of school.
  3. The negative effects of cannabis, however, are much less than the effects of some substances such as alcohol.
  4. Cannabis use can also negatively affect a person living with a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

Generally, it is safest not to use any drug unless one can be sure the benefits clearly outweigh the risks and the context and reasons for use do not increase the potential for harm.

It can help to think of drug use on a spectrum as shown in the illustration below.

The level of risk and amount of harm related to cannabis use depends on many factors: More drug equals more risk. Increased risk is linked with a greater amount and more frequent drug use, and higher strength of a drug.

Younger age equals more risk. The younger a person is when they start using a drug regularly, the more likely they are to experience harms or develop problematic substance use later in life. Places, times and activities influence risk. Trying cannabis with friends at a weekend party and walking home later is less likely to result in harm than smoking cannabis on school property or driving under the influence.

If their motive is a strong and enduring one e. When someone uses a drug in order to fit in with a particular group, they may not listen to their inner self and may make poor choices. In short, the level of risk related to cannabis use differs from person to person and depends on much more than the properties of the drug itself.

  1. Increased risk is linked with a greater amount and more frequent drug use, and higher strength of a drug. The younger a person is when they start using a drug regularly, the more likely they are to experience harms or develop problematic substance use later in life.
  2. If their motive is a strong and enduring one e.
  3. More drug equals more risk. The negative effects of cannabis, however, are much less than the effects of some substances such as alcohol.

Making good decisions about cannabis use involves always looking at both the risks and the benefits, thinking about the reasons the drug is being used and ensuring the context is safe for use. The best way for a parent to make a decision about cannabis is to assess it in the context of their family and individual situation. Top Common Claims about Cannabis The human brain begins to develop in the womb but is not fully formed until well into adulthood.

Drugs influence the way our brains develop. Regular cannabis use at an early age may have negative effects on brain development. All psychoactive substances, from caffeine to heroin, have an immediate effect on the brain.

Cannabis Use and Youth: A parent's guide

The negative effects of cannabis, however, are much less than the effects of some substances such as alcohol. While the negative effects of cannabis on the brain are often minimal and reversible, exposure to psychoactive substances during development should be minimized. Psychoactive substances are drugs that affect our central nervous system especially the brain and make us see, think, feel, and behave differently than we usually do.

Available evidence cannot answer whether or not cannabis causes psychosis. But it does reveal an association between the two, with greater risk of psychosis for people who use cannabis frequently.

Cannabis may be one factor that interacts with other factors, such as a vulnerability to psychosis. For instance, someone with a family history of psychosis may be more sensitive to the potential psychosis-producing properties of cannabis than people without this vulnerability in their family. That said, for some people, cannabis use can result in short-term psychotic symptoms such as unusual perceptions and feelings e.

Cannabis Use and Youth: A parent's guide

Cannabis use can also negatively affect a person living with a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Studies on the effects of cannabis use on depression are also inconclusive. Some evidence suggests a link between frequent cannabis use and depression. Even though cannabis smoke contains carcinogens cancer-causing toxinsthe risk of developing some cancers e. This is because cannabis smokers tend to smoke less.

Cannabis smokers typically smoke one to three cannabis cigarettes a day compared to 10 to 30 tobacco cigarettes by tobacco smokers. Another factor is related to the properties of the cannabis plant. For example, cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids, which some scientists think play a protective role against cancer in the lungs. While there is an association between cannabis and quitting school, the linkages may be the result of common factors—personality traits or family issues, for example—that increase the risks of both cannabis use and dropping out of school.

Or school policy related to cannabis use may be the cause. For instance, a zero-tolerance school policy for drug use, which isolates suspended students from their peers and teachers, may be more likely to lead to a student dropping out than drug use itself.