As provinces across the country continue to adjust to the recent legalization of cannabis, this week the Quebec government launched a public awareness campaign on the risks associated with its use.
The campaign includes a series of hallucination-themed images featuring distorted body parts or unnatural body hair growth. Each visual includes the tag lines, “There’s no way cannabis can do this. But the risks are real,” and “It’s not worth the risk.”
The ads can be found alongside information on the risks of cannabis use, advice for parents and addiction support services at https://encadrementcannabis.gouv.qc.ca/en/.
Quebec’s move to proactively advertise harms associated with cannabis use falls in line with Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division’s recommendations to reduce the health risks and harms associated with the legalization and regulation of cannabis. Among our recommendations made in our 2017 submission to Ontario government were:
- Educate about the health risks of cannabis as early as possible with age-appropriate content, created with the input of youth and delivered by trained facilitators
- Allocate all cannabis-related revenue to fund mental health and addictions services, public awareness campaigns, research and enforcement issues
- Increase research to understand the links between cannabis use, mental health and addiction
- Train those that distribute cannabis to consumers through a Cannabis Card program, like Ontario’s Smart Serve program
- Enhance access to mental health and addictions treatment, specifically for youth and heavy-cannabis users
CMHA Ontario welcomes further opportunity to consult with the provincial government on the steps required to ensure a public health approach to minimizing the harms associated with cannabis consumption.