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Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

FAQs - All FAQs

Set rules. Let your teen know that drug and alcohol use is unacceptable and that these rules are set to keep him or her safe. Set limits with clear consequences for breaking them. 

Praise and reward good behaviour for compliance and enforce consequences for non-compliance.

Know where your teen is and what he or she will be doing during unsupervised time. Research shows that teens with unsupervised time are three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs. Unsupervised teens are also more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as underage drinking, sexual activity, and cigarette smoking than other teens. This is particularly important after school, in the evening hours, and also when school is out during the summer or holidays.

Talk to your teen. While shopping or riding in the car, casually ask him how things are going at school, about his friends, what his plans are for the weekend, etc.

Keep them busy — especially between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and into the evening hours. Engage your teen in after-school activities. Enroll your child in a supervised educational program or a sports league. Research shows that teenagers that are involved in constructive, adult-supervised activities are less likely to use drugs than other teens.

Check on your teenager. Occasionally check in to see that your kids are where they say they’re going to be and that they are spending time with whom they say they are with.

Establish a "core values statement" for your family. Consider developing a family mission statement that reflects your family’s core values. This might be discussed and created during a family meeting or over a weekend meal together. Talking about what they stand for is particularly important at a time when teens are pressured daily by external influencers on issues like drugs, sex, violence, or vandalism. If there is no compass to guide your kids, the void will be filled by the strongest force.

Spend quality time together as a family regularly and be involved in your kid's lives. Create a bond with your child. This builds up credit with your child so that when you have to set limits or enforce consequences, it’s less stressful.

Take time to learn the facts about marijuana and underage drinking and their use of other substances. Then talk to your teen about the harmful health, social, learning, and mental effects on young users.

Get to know your teen’s friends (and their parents) by inviting them over for dinner or talking with them at your teen’s soccer practice, dance rehearsal, or other activities.

Stay in touch with the adult supervisors of your child (camp counsellors, coaches, employers, teachers) and have them inform you of any changes in your teen. Warning signs of drug use include distance from family and existing friends, hanging out with a new circle of friends, lack of interest in personal appearance, or changes in eating or sleeping habits.

Slang terms for cannabis

Including the term marijuana, cannabis may be known by different names across different cultures, communities and social groups. These names include:

  • pot
  • bud
  • wax
  • errl
  • purp
  • keef
  • dope
  • herb
  • joint
  • rosin
  • spliff
  • trees
  • boom
  • weed
  • ganja
  • skunk
  • reefer
  • doobie
  • shatter
  • budder
  • gangster
  • honeycomb
  • Mary Jane (MJ)
  • dank or dank krippy

What do we know about the link between cannabis and psychosis?

In the last few years there have been an increasing number of studies examining the relationship between cannabis and psychosis. This has captured not only the attention of the research community but also the popular media and public in general. Although it is well known that using cannabis can induce temporary psychotic/hallucinatory symptoms this accumulating body of evidence has suggested that there is an association between some youth who use cannabis regularly and enduring psychosis. Several recent studies suggest that frequent cannabis use during adolescence is associated with a clinically significant increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses which feature psychosis.

Some of the headlines about these studies in the media may be leading the everyday reader to believe that there is a direct casual relationship between marijuana and psychosis, i.e. that the average person who smokes some pot may become psychotic. Though this definitely makes for a gripping news story and there are some studies that suggest this causal link, according to the abundance of scientific literature and various other forms of information (e.g. web and print-based resources, anecdotal evidence, documentaries evidence) the nature of the link between the two seems to be more complicated than this. Before we take a closer look at this link, let's first review the basic facts about psychosis and cannabis.

What is psychosis?

Psychosis describes conditions that affect the mind. There is a loss of contact with reality and many of the following symptoms may occur:

Positive symptoms (which reflect a change or increase in regular functioning)

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of paranoia and suspiciousness
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Disorganized speaking

Negative symptoms (which reflect a decrease or loss "normal" functions)

  • Loss of or decreased motivation
  • Loss of or decreased in ability to take initiate or come up with new ideas
  • Loss of or decreased talking
  • Difficulties expressing emotion
  • Difficulties thinking and/concentrating

Some other problems that may occur concurrently with psychosis are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulties sleeping

It is important to note that although psychosis is usually thought of in association with schizophrenia it is also present to varying degrees in many other mental disorders including:

  • Schizophreniform disorder: A person has some psychotic symptoms for less than six months.
  • Bipolar disorder: With this type of illness, the symptoms of psychosis relate more to mood disturbance than to thought disturbance.
  • Schizoaffective disorder: A person will have symptoms of schizophrenia and symptoms of a mood disturbance, either at the same time or alternating over time.
  • Depression with psychotic features: A person has severe depression and symptoms of psychosis without the mania associated with bipolar disorder.
  • Drug-induced psychosis: The use of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD amphetamines and alcohol can sometimes cause psychotic symptoms to appear.
  • Organic psychosis: Symptoms of psychosis may appear as a result of a physical illness or a head injury.
  • Brief psychotic disorder: This illness usually lasts less than a month. It is usually triggered by a major stress in the person's life, such as a death in the family.
  • Delusional disorder: This type of psychosis consists of very strong and fixed beliefs in things that are not true.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: This usually lasts more than a month, and happens after a person has seen or experienced a very traumatic event. The person may have flashbacks or hallucinate.

Source: www.camh.net

How common is it?

About three out of every 100 people will have a psychotic episode in their lifetime. Psychosis usually first appears in an individual's late adolescence or early twenties. It occurs in both men and women and across all cultures and socioeconomic groups. Women seem to be affected by psychotic illnesses at a later age than men and on the whole women respond better than men to most treatments However, women have times when the risk of relapse is greater (e.g. right before menstruation, right after childbirth and other "hormonally-significant" times in their lives).

What are the phases of psychosis?

1. The Prodromal Phase

There are subtle changes in thinking, perception and behavior. Some of the signs may include:

  • feel spacey, or disoriented
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • suspiciousness
  • mood swings
  • sleep disturbance
  • change in appetite
  • loss of energy
  • withdrawal from family and friends
  • loss of interest in activities
  • intense dislike of being touched by others
  • unusual sensitivity to noise, light, colour and texture

Source: www.gethelpearly.ca

2. Acute Phase

Symptoms are now full blown and affect and impede on the individual's daily living. *See Positive and Negative symptoms in "What is Psychosis?" section*

3. Recovery Phase

The pattern of recovery varies from person to person. *See information on recovery in "How is Psychosis treated?" section*

What causes psychosis?

Psychosis is a very complicated condition. Its exact cause is unknown but it is likely to have multiple, interacting causes. It is believed that some individuals are vulnerable to psychosis due to various biological and genetic risk factors and that other environmental factors (such as stressful life events or marijuana use for example) in combination with this vulnerability can bring on a psychotic episode.

How is psychosis treated?

Treatment for psychosis is usually a combination of psychosocial interventions (such as counseling) and antipsychotic medication. It is also extremely important for the individual with psychosis to have a good network of emotional and social supports, which can include close family members, friends, case managers, therapists and a variety of programs and services in the community.

Many people make a good recovery, especially if the psychosis is detected early. The process of recovery though can be quite variable from person to person. In some cases people are able to resume their regular life relatively quickly as their symptoms disappear almost right away while other people may need weeks, months or even years to recover. Others will need medication and some form of support for the rest of their lives. The key to a successful recovery seems to be early detection and intervention, i.e. in the prodromal phase of psychosis.

Yes. But please be aware that cannabis taken orally has a slower onset time than smoked or vaporized cannabis because it is absorbed through the liver. This may result in taking a larger than intended dose.

Cognitive impairment may be greatly increased when cannabis is consumed along with alcohol or other drugs which affect the activity of the nervous system (e.g. opioids, sleeping pills, other psychoactive drugs)

Using cannabis or any cannabis product can impair your concentration, your ability to think and make decisions, and your reaction time and coordination. This can affect your motor skills, including your ability to drive.

Yes. The ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) guidelines allow you to register with more than one licensed producer. However, in order for the medical documents to be valid, you must use separate, original medical documentation for each licensed producer. It is at the discretion of physicians to permit splitting prescriptions for this purpose.

Most insurance plans do not cover the cost of medical cannabis at this time. Some plans do offer coverage, so we suggest contacting your insurance company directly to learn your specific scope of coverage.

Medical cannabis purchased from a licensed producer can be claimed on your personal tax return, and if you are a veteran, you may have coverage through Veterans Affairs Canada.

Consult your physician for advice on the type of strain that’s best for your needs.

Oils are to be used orally, either by placing droplets under the tongue or swallowing the dose. If you are new to oils please remember to start with a very low dose, no more than 0.5 ml to start and move up from there.

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