Pubdate: Sat, 28 Oct 2017
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Jeremy Appel
Page: 5


Ed Secondiak began his Friday lecture on cannabis in the workplace by
cautioning against potential dangers of the soon-to-be-legalized substance.

"We would consider marijuana a dangerous drug simply because
impairment is not recognized by the individual or perhaps the person
(working) with them," said Secondiak, a former drug enforcement RCMP
officer who now works with ECS Safety.

The talk at Medicine Hat College was organized by APEX and intended
for local employers, whom Secondiak encouraged to ask questions at any

"(Cannabis) delays decision making linked to workplace accidents and
injuries," he warned.

Secondiak noted the vast increase in the herb's potency, measured in
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) percentage, throughout the years.

Marijuana typically contains 20 per cent THC after being dried out for

"In the '70s, '80s, into the '90s, the THC content of the marijuana
sold on the streets was half a per cent. With the super-duper stuff,
maybe as high as two per cent," Secondiak said, emphasizing the contrast.

Secondiak ridiculed the perception among some that marijuana is a
cure-all with zero socially detrimental affects.

"The only thing I drink now is medical alcohol. I drink medical beer,
medical wine and medical scotch. I find that it helps me sleep, it
helps with my back pain, and I can drink as much as I want and I still
drive," he joked. "Would anyone believe me?"

More research needed

Although marijuana is perscribed for medicinal purposes, it isn't
recognized as a therapeutic drug by Health Canada, so there hasn't
been extensive research on its effects.

"It's a perscribed substance, not a prescribed drug," explained
Secondiak, adding that this distinction gives companies more leeway in
deciding whether to provide disability insurance.

"If you have an employee who ... because of an illness (is) using
medical marijuana and they can no longer work, and they're looking for
short-term or long-term disability, the insurance companies may or may
not cover that individual," he said.

"They do it now on a case-by-case basis, because the person is using a
drug that isn't recognized by Health Canada."

With the impending full legalization of marijuana across Canada,
Secondiak predicted even scanter resources will be dedicated to
studying its medicinal effects.

"The money is going to that area because that's where more profits are
going to be," he said. "We seem to to be forgetting about the research
that could be going into medical marijuana."

Despite beginning the lecture on a cautionary note, Secondiak
acknowledges that the substance does have legitimate medical uses.

"We lack the research but it has a lot promise," he said. "There
should be a focus on better research, because it does benefit people.
There's no question about that."
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