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New website warns about the effects of cannabis on a young brain

New website educates teens about the risks associated with using cannabis.
New website educates teens about the risks associated with using cannabis. File/Global News

Ahead of recreational marijuana use becoming legal this fall, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada has launched a new website to help explain the connection between cannabis use and psychosis in young people.

The site, cannabisandpsychosis.ca, contains information from medical professionals as well as stories from teens who have first-hand experience with the effects of marijuana on their mental health.

According to a 2015 survey, the average age that teens — both male and female — start using cannabis is 17.

READ MORE: Canadians want pot tax revenue to fund health care, not anti-drug campaigns, survey finds

Using as a young person makes you four to 12 times more likely to develop a mental disorder, especially if you are 15 years old or younger. Regular drug use can even trigger the development of a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.

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The online site states that 21 per cent of youths aged 15-19 use cannabis, 30 per cent of young adults aged 20-24 do, and 10 per cent of adults aged 25 or older use the drug.

The website also breaks down the differences in how pot can affect a female compared to a male and how you may be affected by the drug if you already have an underlying mental health disorder.

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As well, there’s a section dedicated to messages and videos from teens who talk about their real life experiences, what they’ve learned and what they regret.

This is all part of a project by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada with support from the Substance Use and Addictions Program for Health Canada and the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addictions.

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