The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has issued a public health and safety advisory warning people about the risks associated with the use of cannabis products. The advisory comes around two months before medical cannabis will be legally available in the state.
According to a news release sent by the ADH’s public information director, Meg Mirivel, the advisory is meant to warn Arkansas about the risks of harm that are associated with the use of cannabis-derived products that claim to have health benefits.
Cannabis dispensaries in Arkansas
Medical cannabis was legalized in the state in November 2016.
Earlier this month, Arkansas formally awarded all 32 medical cannabis dispensary licenses. The Department of Finance and Administration said that each of these businesses have paid $15,000 in licensing fees, as well as posted a $100,000 performance band.
The dispensaries can start building or getting their dispensaries ready. However, they are required to pass a final inspection before opening their doors to customers.
What the advisory states
The ADH partnered with Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane and Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe in urging residents to be aware of the risks associated with cannabis products.
Among the risks cited in the new advisory are:
- Cannabis is addictive. Approximately one in every 11 adults who use cannabis will become addicted. The risk of addiction if greater among the youth.
- Cannabis that is now available is more potent than the cannabis available in previous decades. Cannabis now contains higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The long-term health and development consequences of being exposed to higher concentrations of THC are not known for sure.
- The use of cannabis is associated with adverse health effects, including development of psychoses like schizophrenia and increased risk of road accidents.
- Cannabis is particularly harmful to a developing child. Moreover, smoking pot during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight for the baby, which is a risk factor for death in its first year of life.