Pubdate: Thu, 30 Mar 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: Noel Hershfield
Page: A14


Re: "Liberal promise stirs up a pot of trouble," March 28.

It is incredible that Health Canada and the government have decided to
legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Here is an update on this psychoactive drug. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of
Israel has been studying it for 55 years. He and his colleagues have
written 400 papers and have 20 patents.

He stated recently that legalizing this powerful psychoactive drug is
very dangerous. I guess our experts have not read his research.

Critical skills related to attention and learning are seriously
diminished. More accidents, more injuries, huge increase in work absence.

A 20-year study from Wales showed that addiction does occur, as does
imbibing other substances, such as cocaine. Ninety per cent of cocaine
addicts started their drug career with pot. According to the Centers
for Disease Control, there has been a huge increase in emergency
attendance due to pot, including anxiety, paranoia and suicidal ideation.

My colleagues who work emergencies in this city have noted this as
well. Smoking the stuff will damage the lungs, and there are studies
that biopsies from lung bronchi show the same changes that cigarette
smoke cause.

The bottom line is that legalizing it is a poor decision.

Noel Hershfield, FRCP, Calgary

(Noel Hershfield is a clinical professor at the University of Calgary.)
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