With cannabis now legal in Canada, this will mark the first holiday season in BC where party-goers may indulge in the substance without having to worry.
However, a new survey from BCAA says the 2018 Christmas season could be a dangerous one for our roads as people plan to mix pot with their alcohol consumption.
The results are raising some concern over at Northern Health where Prevention of Substance Harm Lead, Stacie Weich says if you do plan to light up, make sure to get a safe ride home
“I’m hoping to sort of get the message out that planning ahead or looking to reduce or even limit our use, even having non-substance use events as part of your holiday lineup.”
The road safety concerns loom even larger due to the expectation of higher cannabis use, where 93% of all people who participated in the survey are worried about who gets behind the wheel after mixing alcohol with marijuana.
“Much like alcohol, cannabis does offer impairment but there are lower and higher risk ways to use it so you need to keep in mind of the individual and for them to have consideration over their own personal situation when choosing and using substances.”
Similar to the fact there are no safe alcohol consumption levels for women while pregnant, the same theory can be applied to marijuana smokers because there is not enough to data to determine to what is a safe level.
“There is no amount of cannabis that I can say that if you consume this, you can drive in so many hours we really just don’t have a gauge for what that looks like so impairment is the issue and there isn’t a dose-response level at this point,” explained Weich.
The Northern Health representative believes the more a person uses this time of year can be habit-forming, to say the least, which could lead to other issues down the road.
“Definitely cannabis, if used regularly and frequently, can be habit-forming right, so we want to include some days when we’re not using and introduce lower levels of cannabis and we would prefer that you do not use it with other substances, so if you’re consuming alcohol, don’t consume another substance.”
“People with mental health concerns and family histories it is safer to avoid using cannabis during the holidays as it can be part of a time where people are feeling extra-socially isolated or more alone and that kind of thing, the holidays don’t bring out fun and joy for everyone.”
Sixty-seven percent of cannabis users expect or are open to using marijuana at holiday events, while 54% are planning to use both cannabis and alcohol.
According to Statistics Canada, 25% of users reported having driven a vehicle with two hours of using cannabis in combination with alcohol, a spike from the 15% rate in 2017.