A study published by the peer-reviewed journal Addiction has found that there “were no statistically significant changes in rates of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury” following Canada legalizing marijuana.
Titled The effect of recreational cannabis legalization on rates of traffic injury in Canada, the study was published by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital, the University of Toronto and the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
The aim of the study was to “measure the impact of Canada’s recreational cannabis legalization (RCL) in October 2018 and the subsequent impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns from March 2020 on rates of emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations for traffic injury.”
For the study an interrupted time series analysis of rates of ED visits and hospitalizations in Canada recorded in population-based databases from January/April 2010 to March 2021.
ED visits in Ontario and Alberta and hospitalizations in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Prairies [Manitoba, Saskatchewan], and Maritimes [Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island] were examined. Cases Monthly counts of presentations to the ED or hospital for motor vehicle injury or pedestrian/cyclist injury, used to calculate monthly rates per 100,000 population.
“An occurrence of one or more International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, Canada (ICD-10-CA) code for motor vehicle injury (V20-V29, V40-V79, V30-39, V86) and pedestrian/cyclist injury (V01-V09, V10-V19) within the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System and Discharge Abstract Database” were used.
The study found that “There were no statistically significant changes in rates of ED visits and hospitalizations for motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury after RCL after accounting for multiple testing.”
Researchers note that “After COVID-19, there was an immediate decrease in the rate of ED visits for motor vehicle injury that was statistically significant only in Ontario (level change ß = -16.07 in Ontario, 95% confidence interval [CI] -20.55 to -11.60, p=0.000; ß = -10.34 in Alberta, 95% CI -17.80 to -2.89, p=0.008; alpha of 0.004) and no changes in rates of hospitalizations.”
The study concludes: “Canada’s recreational cannabis legalization (RCL) did not notably impact motor vehicle and pedestrian/cyclist injury. The rate of emergency department visits for motor vehicle injury decreased immediately after COVID-19, resulting in rates below post-RCL levels in the year after COVID-19.”