More research is required to fully understand the connection between cannabis use and mental health says the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) in a new report produced in collaboration with the University of Calgary.
Cannabis and Mental Health: Priorities for research in Canada is a review of existing research on the connection between cannabis and mental health and the current gaps in understanding. The report says more specificity in several research areas is required to fully understand the complex relationship between cannabis and mental health, including:
- The potentially positive effects of cannabis use, and their connection to mental health.
- A long-term approach to research that measures individuals over several points in time, which will assess the directional nature of the relationship between cannabis use and mental health.
- Identification of the mode of administration and the type of cannabis used, as these variables can greatly alter its effects.
- How different populations experience the use of cannabis and their perceptions of its effects. The report highlights the lack of research focused on specific groups, such as senior citizens, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants, refugees, and ethnocultural and racialized populations.
Furthermore, the report emphasized the importance of using research methods that will provide insight into why people use cannabis, their understanding of the connection between cannabis and mental health, their perception of the substance, and their experienced benefits of use. The report pointed to Canada as being in a unique position to lead this area of research, as one of the only nations in the world where recreational cannabis has been legalized.
CMHA Ontario has advocated for a public health approach in the legalization and regulation of cannabis. This approach takes into consideration the health, safety and well-being of society, for which it’s integral that investments are made to further understanding of how the mental health and wellness of Ontarians will be affected.