According to reports from CBC News, Canada has been experiencing a spike in cannabis overdoses across the country, and legalization hasn't even kicked in yet.
So what's the cause? Ignorance of the drug is one. Simple education on the products being eaten, smoked, or ingested in general, could help to cull those emergency room visits.
Spike in Cannabis Overdoses: The Data
The data has come from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), who showed that over the past three years, the number of visits to the emergency room due to cannabis overdosing has tripled in Ontario and doubled in Alberta (from 449 to 1,500 in Ontario, and 431 to 832 in Alberta).
According to Heather Hudson at the Ontario Poison Centre at SickKids children's hospital in Toronto, this is "just the tip of the iceberg."
"We are certainly getting more calls about children who are being exposed unintentionally," she said.
One of the biggest issues causing the problem is that people don't actually know what they are taking. Labels are giving misinformation, or serving sizes are not clearly marked and so people are ingesting far more than they realize. According to Dr. Szabo:
"We're seeing a lot of people out there who are accidentally ingesting huge amounts of cannabis. They're not realizing that what they're taking, it is excessive, [...] Nothing's labelled properly. The serving size is not clearly marked so they're eating a whole brownie, not realizing they're only supposed to eat one-eighth of that brownie."
Depending on the severity of the case, patients can spend anywhere up to 20 hours in the ER being brought down from an unintentional high, with symptoms appearing like anxiety and progressing to paranoia and even psychosis.
Edibles are not even legal in Canada yet, and won't be for another year after legalization in October, yet they are widely available and used, with many people uneducated on what or how to take them.
Education in the sector is a strong force to help ease this problem over the years. Companies such as Cannvas MedTech (CSE:MTEC) have developed education-based websites designed to help users understand the drug.
If the problem is already this bad, we need to look to companies taking similar measures to guide people to safe usage.
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