Talk­ing about cannabis in Alta.

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Southern Alberta -

Al­though cannabis is now le­gal for those 18+, there are health risks.

It’s im­por­tant that Al­ber­tans con­sider th­ese risks and how use of cannabis can im­pact their day-to-day life, well­be­ing and long-term health.

With so much con­fus­ing in­for­ma­tion out there, AHS wants to clear the air and talk about what cannabis le­gal­iza­tion means for you, the health risks that come with use, and what you can do to lower your risk if you choose to use.

There are many short and long-term ef­fects of cannabis use. Some key ef­fects in­clude:

• Cannabis use can im­pact brain de­vel­op­ment, es­pe­cially in those un­der 25 be­cause, up un­til that point, the brain is still de­vel­op­ing.

• Cannabis can also cre­ate last­ing im­pacts that stay with you for life. It could af­fect your at­ten­tion, judg­ment, de­ci­sion mak­ing and abil­ity to learn.

And if you choose to use, choose lower-risk prod­ucts, avoid mix­ing with al­co­hol, tobacco or other drugs, and do not use and drive. Also, be aware:

• Cannabis is much more po­tent prod­uct than it has been in past

• Cannabis af­fects ev­ery­one in dif­fer­ent ways. Use as lit­tle as you can and wait to see how you re­act.

• Ef­fects can be felt within sec­onds to min­utes of smok­ing, va­por­iz­ing or dab­bing cannabis and can last up to 24 hours.

• When eat­ing/drink­ing cannabis it can take sev­eral hours to feel the full ef­fect. Start with a small amount and wait for sev­eral hours be­fore you take any­more.

Talk­ing to young adults and youth un­der 18

Have con­ver­sa­tions early that re­flect your own val­ues to­ward the use of drugs and other sub­stances such as al­co­hol and cig­a­rettes.

It’s im­por­tant to talk about the risks that come with us­ing cannabis be­fore 25. Un­til then, the brain isn’t fully de­vel­oped and cannabis use can lead to prob­lems that im­pact mem­ory, learn­ing, at­ten­tion, judg­ment and de­ci­sion mak­ing.

A good ap­proach is to un­der­stand the facts. Tak­ing any­thing that changes the way you think, act and feel could have con­se­quences on ma­jor life ar­eas. This could in­clude poor per­for­mance in school and drop­ping out of things you en­joy.

If you know some­one who is un­der 18, and they’re us­ing or con­sid­er­ing us­ing cannabis, en­cour­age them to think about where they do it, who they are with, why they are us­ing, and what they are do­ing while us­ing.

Re­mem­ber this. Whether or not they ex­press it, youth and teens care about your opin­ion. It mat­ters and can help with de­ci­sion mak­ing.

If you have chil­dren

Con­sider how to keep chil­dren safe in re­la­tion to cannabis:

• Do not smoke cannabis in the home or around chil­dren

• Keep cannabis and all drugs (al­co­hol, tobacco and tobacco-like prod­ucts) locked up, out of sight, out of reach and in their orig­i­nal con­tain­ers

If a child is ex­posed to cannabis and shows signs of dis­tress, con­tact Poi­son & Drug In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice (PADIS) (toll free 1-800-332-1414) or Health Link(call 811 or 1-866-408-5465 for in­ter­net phone users).

For more par­ent­ing re­sources, please visit Healthy Par­ents, Healthy Chil­dren.

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