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Physicians caution public about edible cannabis

New Brunswick Medical Society relaunches Legal, Not Safe campaign as federal government legalizes edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals

FREDERICTON, N.B. — The New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is relaunching its Legal, Not Safe campaign on Thursday, Oct. 17, as the federal government legalizes the production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals.

“Physicians in New Brunswick are concerned about the adverse health effects caused by cannabis consumption,” said Dr. Chris Goodyear, president of the NBMS. “Like tobacco and alcohol, cannabis can have a serious impact on your overall health. In some cases, excessive cannabis consumption can cause rapid heart rate, anxiety, and vomiting. More serious concerns include psychotic episodes and seizures. We urge the public to speak with their health-care provider and be informed of the risks if they are considering using cannabis.”

Legal, Not Safe is a public awareness campaign highlighting the health risks associated with consuming recreational cannabis. Previous versions of the campaign garnered interest from physicians and patients across Canada and the U.S.

The relaunched campaign is focused specifically on edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. It features three key messages:

  • Safe storage: Cannabis edibles may seem appealing to children or pets. Keep all cannabis products safely stored out of sight and reach.
  • Cannabis and alcohol: Combining any amount of alcohol with cannabis may lead to increased levels of panic, anxiety, or paranoia.
  • Overconsumption: It takes longer to feel the effects of cannabis when it is ingested compared to when it is inhaled, which may lead to overconsumption. It can take up to two hours to feel the effects of cannabis edibles, and the full effects may not be felt for up to four hours. Side effects of cannabis edibles can last up to 12 hours.

The Legal, Not Safe educational campaign was originally launched by the NBMS in 2017 to inform New Brunswickers about the negative health impacts of cannabis. In previous versions of the campaign, physicians warned the public that a baby can absorb THC from its mother’s breast milk, smoking cannabis creates the same toxins and cancer-causing chemicals as smoking cigarettes, and using cannabis under age 25 can cause long lasting damage to the brain.

The production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals becomes legal tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. However, these products are not expected on the retail market until mid-December 2019.

The NBMS will be sharing important messages about cannabis consumption on Facebook and Twitter. More information is available online at legalnotsafe.ca.

Founded in 1867, the NBMS is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. It has a two-part mission: to represent and service all practising and future physicians in the province, and to advocate for the health of New Brunswickers.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Eric Lewis, elewis@nbms.nb.ca, 506-238-5645