Alberta Government Examines Cannabis Impact on Youth


Edmonton – HEALTH – The Alberta government is collaborating with drug policy and brain development experts to study the effects of cannabis use on youth aged 25 and under.

Since cannabis legalization over five years ago, access to non-medical and recreational cannabis, including appealing edibles like gummies and candies, has increased for those 18 and older. This has raised concerns about its impact on young people, leading Alberta to take action.

To address these concerns, Alberta is partnering with experts, including doctors and professors, to investigate cannabis effects on youth.

“We owe it to young Albertans and their families to make sure we fully understand the effects of legal cannabis. We’re proud to bring together this group of respected health experts to provide insight and advice as we continue to navigate this evolving area of health care.”
Dan Williams, Minister of Alberta Mental Health and Addiction

“As cannabis products have become more widely available, we must continue to evaluate their health impacts – particularly on young people whose brains are still developing. I look forward to working with leading experts from around the world to closely examine the evidence and help inform decisions in the best interest of Albertans.”
Blair Gibbs, former advisor to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and policy consultant

Alberta has allocated a one-time grant of $280,000 to review evidence on cannabis use impacts on youth. The study involves experts from the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Birmingham.

Research Experts Involved:

  • Blair Gibbs, former advisor to the Prime Minister of the UK
  • Dr. Sebastian Straube, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Philip Tibbo, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Charl Els, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Emily Hennessy, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Victoria Burns, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Ed Day, University of Birmingham

Quick Facts:

  • The research is expected to conclude by summer 2024.
  • Findings will be reported to the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction.
  • Cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco cannot be legally purchased or consumed by those under 18 in Alberta.
  • Alberta spends over $1.55 billion annually on addiction and mental health care.
  • Albertans can contact 211 for 24-7 free and confidential support for addiction or mental health issues.
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