Psychiatrists concerned about the legalization of cannabis

News 25 August, 2017
  • Photo Fotolia

    Pierre-Paul Biron

    Thursday, 24 August, 2017 15:08

    Thursday, 24 August, 2017 15:08

    Look at this article

    Psychiatrists quebecers say they are concerned by the lack of measures put in place in the health care network in anticipation of the legalization of cannabis and are afraid of putting significant pressure on services that are already out of breath.

    Members of the Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec (AMPQ) and the Association québécoise programs for first psychotic episodes (AQPPEP) have presented their concerns on Thursday in the margins of the public consultation on the legalisation of cannabis. If they had preferred never to see the process of legalization is set in motion, they now want to see it slow down to failure to be able to stop it.

    Not enough initiatives

    “It is necessary to provide for the establishment of resources because it takes time. There is a certain degree of inertia in the area of health, so if you want to implement something, it will be necessary to take the money elsewhere, and quickly. I don’t see currently what branlebas de combat, and that’s troubling,” says Dr. Marc-André Roy, a clinician-scientist at Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec.

    Already overwhelmed by the present flood of patients is higher than in the Québec city region than elsewhere in the province, the psychiatrists argue that the legalization will come with a sharp increase in demand. Based on the studies made after the legalization in some american states, Dr. Édith Labonté is feared that the network no longer being able to bear the psychotic patients.

    “It is documented. The emergency consultation was increased up to 40% in connection with the cannabis and I find it hard to believe that this won’t happen to us”, believes the psychiatrist member of the board of directors of the AMPQ.

    Disappointed in the minister David

    Reacting to the exit of the minister Hélène David, who claimed Thursday not to close the door in the pot on the college campus and academics, psychiatrists in quebec are said to be disappointed of this kind of position. According to them, the minister has missed a great opportunity to send a strong message.

    “Cannabis is psychosis what gasoline is to fire camp. […] The minister is said to be ambivalent, so why she would not come to spend a day in the er with us? I would be very open to her to come to see and that she too will be able to put a name and a face on the issue. Because it is when one sees these beautiful young people here struggling with a problem that we understand”, speaks to Dr Roy.


    In the margins of the consultations, which were held Thursday in Quebec city, the association has issued its recommendations as to the legalization, which is scheduled for July 2018. The specialists wish to see the legal age to purchase the substance, set at 21 years, even if the brain completes its full development 25.

    “Socially, there is a current saying that in 18 years, it is major, you can smoke and do what you want. It is therefore a compromise between that and the ideal age, which for us would have been 25 years,” said Ms. Labonté. The physicians also hope to control the THC content and the sale of cannabis as well as the establishment of a program of education in the school curriculum at the secondary level.

    Recommendations of the Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec

    – Set the minimum age to 21 years

    – Prohibit the culture at home for non-medical purposes

    – Prohibit any advertising

    – Provide a model for sale without a logic of profit

    – Implementation of a program in the curriculum at the secondary level

    – Equip parents

    – Deploy awareness-raising campaigns

    – Finance access to additional resources in health