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Crude estimates of cannabis-attributable mortality and morbidity in Canada-implications for public health focused intervention priorities

Crude estimates of cannabis-attributable mortality and morbidity in Canada-implications for public health focused intervention priorities

Journal of Public Health 38(1): 183-188

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in Canada; while its use is currently controlled by criminal prohibition, debates about potential control reforms are intensifying. There is substantive evidence about cannabis-related risks to health in various key outcome domains; however, little is known about the actual extent of these harms specifically in Canada. Based on epidemiological data (e.g. prevalence of relevant cannabis use rates and relevant risk behaviors; risk ratios; and annual numbers of morbidity/mortality cases in relevant domains), and applying the methodology of comparative risk assessment, we estimated attributable fractions for cannabis-related morbidity and mortality, specifically for: (i) motor-vehicle accidents (MVAs); (ii) use disorders; (iii) mental health (psychosis) and (iv) lung cancer. MVAs and lung cancer are the only domains where cannabis-attributable mortality is estimated to occur. While cannabis use results in morbidity in all domains, MVAs and use disorders by far outweigh the other domains in the number of cases; the popularly debated mental health consequences (e.g., psychosis) translate into relatively small case numbers. The present crude estimates should guide and help prioritize public health-oriented interventions for the cannabis-related health burden in the population in Canada; formal burden of disease calculations should be conducted.

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Accession: 057537334

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25630540

DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdv005

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