The Link Between Cannabis, Mental Health and Addiction

Does smoking cannabis increase the risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia? Is there a link between smoking marijuana and nicotine addiction?

Those are just some of the topics being discussed at a research colloquium entitled “Cannabis, Mental Health and Addiction: What is Evidence-Based Policy” on Thursday, February 23 between 1:00 and 4:30 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.

The keynote address, “Cannabis and Psychosis: Is There a Causal Link?”, will be given by Professor David Fergusson of the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences at New Zealand’s University of Otago. He is an international leader in research linking risk behaviours among adolescents to later mental health and addiction problems.

“An overview of the effects of cannabis on brain function” will be presented by Dr. Anthony Phillips, director and professor of the UBC Institute of Mental Health. An expert in brain function and behaviour, Phillips was a founder of QLT, one of Canada’s leading biotechnology companies.

“The link between marijuana use and nicotine addiction” will be discussed by Dr. Joy Johnson, a professor of UBC’s school of nursing and head of the UBC satellite research unit of the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) at the University of Victoria. Her research focuses on the development and treatment of tobacco dependence and addiction, and she is currently launching a research project related to tobacco use in the context of severe and persistent mental illness.

“Cannabis use: Considerations for public health policy” will be discussed by Dr. Benedikt Fischer, who is currently an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In July 2006 Fischer will take on a new role as director of a new research unit on illicit drug policy and public health at CARBC. At UVic, Fischer will spearhead new research programs concerned with a range of illicit drug policy issues such as the legal status of cannabis, safe injection facilities and the prevention of HIV and Hepatitis C among injecting drug users.

The seminar is sponsored by the BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Network and the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC, For more information visit

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Media contacts

Chiara Papile (BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Network) at (604) 707-6390 or

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Keywords: link, cannabis, mental, health, addiction

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