Pubdate: Mon, 19 Dec 2016
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2016 The Telegram
Author: Andy Wells
Page: B4


Part 1 in an occasional letter series exploring marijuana use and

The federal government has indicated that it will introduce
legislation in the spring 2017 session of the House of Commons making
the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana legal in Canada, to
take effect in 2018.

What can we expect in this braver new world of marijuana legality? In
the vernacular, it will be legal to grow "weed" in Whitbourne and to
have a "toke" in the confines of your own domicile.

What is marijuana or, more properly, cannabis? With sufficient light
and good soil, a single seed can grow to six to eight feet in a few
months. Apparently, a few counties in Iowa could supply the entire
Unites States. The plant can contain some 400 chemicals and accurate
composition is difficult to predict. This raises an interesting
question from a medical perspective.

In the absence of chemical consistency, the concept of a dose is moot.
There is no doubt that marijuana can have serious side-effects. There
may be an addiction rate of nine per cent (perhaps higher in
adolescents). There are concerns about its use during pregnancy. It
can affect chronic psychosis and cerebral function.

However, context is important. Nobody has died from a marijuana
overdose (absent impurities). We live in a society that permits the
autonomous individual to use alcohol and cigarettes, for example.

Gambling and excessive consumption of sugar pose major health
problems. Obesity, in combination with aging, poses a major threat to
the viability of the health-care system. In fact, prevalence of
obesity threatens to reverse the long established trend of increased
longevity in advanced societies.

Andy Wells

St. John's
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt