Alberta Cannabis: Quality and Convenience
Cannabis has become a staple of Alberta’s economy and a vital part of our health care system, providing patients with the medical-grade cannabis they need to manage chronic conditions like pain and insomnia. With rigorous regulations, a variety of retail choices, and an array of high-quality products, the Canadian cannabis landscape is changing rapidly.
Alberta Cannabis: Quality and Convenience physicians are still assessing its impact on Canadians’ health. A key measure has been the increase in hospitalizations linked to cannabis use. A recent study using repeated cross-sectional data from Canada’s four most populous provinces found that cannabis use is associated with a 1.62-fold increase in age and sex-standardized rates of cannabis-related hospitalizations. This increased rate was observed in the first 1.5 years after legalization with product and store restrictions, and again in the period of broad commercialization that overlapped with the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The study used provincially collected administrative data and was based on an interrupted time series design with two consecutive waves of surveys: a pre-legalization wave, followed by the first 1.5 years after legalization with product, store and sale restrictions, and then the period of broad commercialization that overlapped the COVID-19 pandemic. Results were adjusted for potential confounders.
The study found that a combination of factors including price and convenience led to consumers’ less favourable perceptions of legal cannabis. These findings suggest that policymakers should aim to strike a balance between the need to make legal cannabis more convenient than illegal in order to encourage uptake and reduce black market sales, and the need for quality in order to protect the safety of consumers.