Pubdate: Fri, 16 Dec 2016
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2016 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Betty Ann Adam
Page: A5


Labelling legalized marijuana products with their levels of two main
active ingredients is one of the helpful recommendations released this
week by a federal task force on cannabis legalization and regulation,
says Saskatoon addictions expert Dr. Peter Butt.

"There's no truth in labelling now because there's no testing," Butt

He is concerned that there is no way to ensure cannabis sold for
medicinal use contains any of a substance shown to produce the medical
benefits marijuana is promoted to address.

Instead, the plant has been mainly produced to maximize its content of
the substance that produces intoxication.

Butt said he believes most of the "medical marijuana" that's sold is
actually purchased for recreational use.

"This unregulated marketing is such a free-for-all, it's a bit of a
mess ... It's going to be a much more regulated environment, which is

Butt said he is pleased the task force recommends legislation be
written from a public health approach, seeking to minimize harm and
use the revenue for education and research that will increase knowledge.

"It's important not to just demonize it. That doesn't help, but rather
to parse it out and say, 'This is what puts people at risk and this is
what's potentially beneficial.' "

Cannabis contains about 100 different chemical compounds called
cannabinoids, which have various effects on the body when consumed.

The most studied of cannabinoids are THC and CBD. The former affects
the brain and causes the euphoric high that recreational users seek,
along with other benefits and risks, while CBD does not cause
intoxication and has been found to be protective of the brain by, for
example, preventing medication-resistant seizures and counteracting
the negative effects of THC, such as anxiety.

Marijuana advocates say the compounds are most beneficial in

Butt said he supports the recommendation to place higher taxes on
higher THC potency marijuana, which is likely to create a market
demand for lower potency strains and encourage growers to produce them.

He said adolescent marijuana use is particularly worrisome for him
because of evidence that points to a connection between cannabis use
and long-term psychiatric disorders.

Human brains are not fully developed until the mid-20s, so early
exposure to psychoactive drugs can affect that development, he said.
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