Pubdate: Sat, 27 Jun 2015
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Jason Broome
Page: A11

Reefer Madness Redux


Is a tomato grown in your garden good for you?

Have you seen a study demonstrating in a double-blinded fashion that
definitive fact? Has that tomato been submitted to Health Canada for

No, it hasn't.

That tomato doesn't need to because we know that it has health
benefits and so we grow it in our gardens, we buy it at stores, in
various forms, and consume it and live our lives free of tomato

Marijuana and its many strains used to be that way. For thousands of
years, we grew marijuana, consumed it and benefited from the
cannabinoids and terpenes in its flower, not just recreationally (like
alcohol and tobacco, then and now) but also to manage ailments such as

Then, in early '20s, '30s and '40s, our political leaders around the
world decided that marijuana needed to be controlled. They banned the
plant, in all its various forms by placing it (and its active
cannabinoids) on lists such as Schedule II of the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act here in Canada.

And so marijuana prohibition began augmented by reefer madness
propaganda ensuring that we as a population would no longer consume
this plant.

Despite the obvious challenges prohibition creates such as the War on
Drugs or running clinical trials on a plant the U.S. government deemed
had "no accepted medical use,"during the next 90 years, people around
the world continued to use marijuana to address their own medical and
recreational needs, finding strains that worked for them and in some
countries such as Israel running controlled clinical studies on a
number of disease states.

Our awakening came with advent of the internet and social media where
individual stories and studies could be shared and consolidated
forming a cohesive rationale as to why marijuana prohibition should

People mobilized in the U.S. and slowly governments were swayed and so
began the accepted concept of "medical marijuana" where recreational
use piggy-backing on medical use both found a legal but sadly quasi
regulated way forward.

There are many challenges to forcing medical professionals to be the
gate keepers to accessing this new medical marijuana paradigm the most
obvious is one of a lack of controlled evidence, specifically so
called phase III pivotal trials that are necessary for drugs to be
approved for use by regulatory bodies such as Health Canada.

And there in lies the nexus of the issue.

Marijuana, as a dried plant or even in extract or edible form, is not,
and never will be, a medical drug and we should stop thinking about it
that way.

It is, at its most basic level, a form of recreation and, at its
theoretical best, a natural health supplement that may have medicinal
qualities and it should be treated as such from established regulatory
mechanisms that we have for food, alcohol and other natural health
supplements at local, provincial and federal levels.

Jason Broome, Kelowna
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