Poll commissioned by OMA shows Ontarians largely in the dark about effects of recreational cannabis

Ontario’s Doctors want patients to be educated on potential health risks.

Poll commissioned by OMA shows Ontarians largely in the dark about effects of recreational cannabis

Ontario’s Doctors want patients to be educated on potential health risks.

September 28, 2018

TORONTO, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 – The legalization of cannabis in Canada is around the corner, but according to a Nanos Research poll commissioned by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), Ontarians aren’t knowledgeable about health risks associated with recreational cannabis, so Ontario’s doctors are urging potential consumers to get informed on the facts.

The Nanos poll found the following:

  • Almost half (48%) of Ontarians do not believe or are unsure about the differences between recreational and medicinal cannabis.
  • More than seven in ten Ontarians are concerned / somewhat concerned about mental health effects/complications for people who regularly consume cannabis.
  • Over six in ten are concerned/ somewhat concerned about addiction to recreational cannabis for regular users.
  • Nearly three in four Ontarians say they are concerned / somewhat concerned about respiratory diseases/disorders for people who regularly consume cannabis, while a majority are concerned / somewhat concerned about the risk of circulatory diseases/disorders for regular users.
  • Ontarians were split on whether the health risks associated with using recreational cannabis periodically are minor or could lead to long-term issues.

The poll also found that 53% of the Ontarians most likely to purchase cannabis frequently probably won’t speak to their doctor about it, so the OMA is urging patients to do so and has also published Ontario’s Doctors Help You Make Informed Decisions: Clearing the Air About Adult Use Cannabis which highlights potential harms and risks with consumption of recreation cannabis:

  • Recreational cannabis can be addictive. About one in 11 users will become addicted and the risk rises to one in six for individuals who start using as a teen.
  • Exposure to cannabis smoke – even second-hand – can trigger acute and chronic health issues including cardiovascular events, asthma, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and a range of respiratory and circulatory conditions.
  • Recreational cannabis use can trigger or heighten symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • There can be cognitive effects such as inattentiveness, difficulty with problem solving and learning, impaired judgment, impaired decision making, and challenges with information retention.

“Doctors are in the business of educating, listening and informing patients of the potential harms and risks associated to things like consumption so that they can make informed decisions that’s in the best interest of their health and safety,” said Dr. Nadia Alam, President of the Ontario Medical Association. “The truth is that there are risks associated with using recreational cannabis, like addiction or the increased likelihood of the chance of developing mental illness, especially among teens. Know the risks to stay safe and healthy.”


About the OMA
The Ontario Medical Association is membership organization that represents the political, clinical and economic interests of doctors in Ontario. Our 34,000 members are practicing doctors, residents and medical students.

For more information, please contact:
OMA Media Relations at 416.340.2862 or toll-free at 1.800.268.7215, ext. 2862
media@oma.org @OntariosDoctors