TORONTO, April 16, 2019 – As licensed cannabis retail stores continue to open across Ontario, physicians, nurses, teachers and other professionals looking to help people who use non-medical cannabis will soon have a one-stop-shop for the best available evidence about cannabis.
CAMH’s Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) was awarded funding from Health Canada earlier this year to develop and launch an online cannabis information hub.
“Addressing the risks and harms related to non-medical cannabis is a shared responsibility – it’s not just something that clinicians deal with,” says Dr. Branka Agic, Director of Knowledge Exchange, PSSP. “Professionals working in law enforcement and education, for example, require evidence and practical tools they can use to best support Ontarians across the continuum of care.”
The hub will draw on CAMH’s clinical, research and policy expertise about cannabis and information generated by CAMH’s partners at national and provincial organizations like the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).
“The research dollars allocated to MHCC for investigating the relationship between mental health and cannabis are critical,” notes president and CEO Louise Bradley. “And now, with additional funding for a hub, we can get the right people, like health care providers, a means to access all the newest, evidence-based information as soon as it's available. They, in turn, can the offer the best possible care and advice. This is important work, and we couldn't ask for a better partner than CAMH."
According to the latest CAMH Monitor – conducted before the onset of legalization last fall – cannabis use amongst Ontario adults in on the rise and reflects a long-term upwards trend, doubling in the last 20 years. CAMH research has also found that about one-in-five Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 report using cannabis in the past year and about two per cent of high school students report symptoms of cannabis dependence.
“It takes a long time to get research into the hands of health care and social service providers in a way that is meaningful for people they are supporting,” says Dr. Robert Mann, Senior Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, CAMH. “The hub will be a way to take what we know about this subject and get it into the hands of busy practitioners.”
A team of partners from multiple provincial professional and health associations will identify what evidence their members need most, and will support the development and sharing of sector-specific resources.
“In its first year, the hub will aim to develop products that will support health and social service professionals working with a broad population of Ontarians,” says Dr. Agic. “It will eventually shift focus to support more specific groups including youth, racialized populations, Indigenous communities and people with mental health disorders, and expand to reach service providers across Canada.”
The online hub is expected to launch this summer.
To view current CAMH cannabis resources, click here.
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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.
For further information: Media Contact: Sean O'Malley, Media Relations, CAMH, 416-595-6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org