Tag: legalization

Reading of the Week: Motor Vehicle Crashes and Mental Disorders – the New CJP Paper; Also, Psychedelics & the States, and Hogan on NYC & Coercion

From the Editor 

He’s not well but insists that he can still drive his car. Should you report him to the Ministry of Transportation?

As clinicians, we often struggle with such issues, which touch on clinical judgment, as well as legal requirements. In Ontario, half a decade ago, the governme­­nt changed the law, requiring mandatory reporting for several conditions, including “acute” psychosis. Yet other provinces continue to leave major decisions to the discretion of providers. What does the literature say about motor vehicle crashes and mental disorders? In the first selection, Dr. Mark J. Rapoport (of the University of Toronto) and his co-authors do a systematic review for The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, drawing on 24 studies. “The available evidence is mixed, not of high quality, and does not support a blanket restriction on drivers with psychiatric disorder.” We consider the paper and its implications.

In the second selection, Dr. Joshua S. Siegel (of Washington University in St. Louis) and his co-authors look at US state legislation for psychedelic drugs in a new JAMA Psychiatry Special Communication. They note a sharp uptick in legislative activity and draw comparisons to cannabis. “After decades of legal restriction, US states have been swiftly moving toward increased access to psychedelics.”

And in the third selection, Michael F. Hogan (of Case Western Reserve University) writes about coercion and mental health care in JAMA Psychiatry. He considers the proposals of New York City Mayor Eric Adams which would expand efforts to hospitalize those with several, persistent mental illness. “Mayor Adams’ proposal for a more vigorous police response leading to inpatient care is well intended but incomplete. It would be preferable for New York to implement comprehensive crisis programs, including intensive care options that reduced the burden on police.”


Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Cannabis in America (and Canada) – the New JAMA Psychiatry Paper with Commentary

From the Editor

It’s legal. Are people using more? And has cannabis use disorder become more common?

This week, we look at a new paper considering cannabis legalization and use. The authors draw on American data where legalization is increasingly found across different states though not as extensively as in Canada; to date, 11 US states have legalized recreational cannabis, with 33 (and D.C.) having legalized medical marijuana.

In a new JAMA Psychiatry paper, Magdalena Cerdá and her co-authors use the National Survey on Drug Use, a major survey involving more than half a million participants, considering marijuana use, frequent use, and cannabis use disorder. What effect does legalization have? They find that cannabis use disorder is more common in adolescents after legalization and for adults who are 26 years of age and older, use, frequent use, and substance use are all up.


We consider the paper. We also discuss the commentary that accompanies it. Finally, with an eye closer to home, we ask: are the findings relevant here in Canada?


Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Marijuana Policy After Legalization; Also, Remembering Charles Krauthammer

From the Editor

Last week, the Senate voted 52 to 29 in favour of Bill C-45, clearing the last hurdle for marijuana legalization. The federal government is aiming for implementation in the fall.

So, what now?

In the first selection, the University of Toronto’s Tony P. George et al. discuss a “framework” for cannabis policy post-legalization. This Canadian Journal of Psychiatry perspective paper is prescriptive, aiming to reduce the negative effects of the legal change. They make six recommendations, including a national strategy for education.


Also, in this week’s Reading, we consider the life and psychiatric contributions of Charles Krauthammer, who died last week at age 68. Dr. Krauthammer is best known for his political commentary, but he had a career in psychiatry before becoming a prominent essayist, and penned a classic paper on “secondary mania.”

Please note that there will be no Reading next week.


Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Marijuana Use and Misuse

In the United States, laws and attitudes toward the use of marijuana are changing. Twenty-three states now have medical marijuana laws, and marijuana use is higher in states with such laws than in other states. Four of these states have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. More Americans now favor legalization of marijuana use than in previous years. Further, fewer Americans view marijuana use as risky, although studies have shown that use or early use of marijuana is associated with increased risk for many outcomes, including cognitive decline, psychosocial impairments, vehicle crashes, emergency department visits, psychiatric symptoms, poor quality of life, use of other drugs, a cannabis-withdrawal syndrome, and addiction risk. Further, marijuana use disorders (abuse or dependence) are associated with substantial comorbidity and disability and are consequently of substantial public health concern.

So begins a new paper looking at an old question: how does drug legalization affect use and misuse?

This week’s Reading: “Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013” by Deborah S. Hasin et al., just published online (and ahead of print) by JAMA Psychiatry.

You can find the paper here:


Columbia University’s Hasin and her co-authors have picked a timely topic. Here’s a quick summary: as laws and public attitude have shifted, looking at U.S. survey data, they conclude that marijuana use has sharply increased. Continue reading