By Hamidah In Publications

What is Cannabis

The banging on the wall, the auditory feedback of bodies slamming into furniture is the unanimous soundtrack heard by family members of those with epilepsy. Whereas, family members and friends of those with chronic diseases are left with the sickly silence – a sign of last hope.

Or finally the emptiness those with experiences of interacting with opioid addicts hear and see on a daily basis. Marijuana is an opportunity to rewrite stories, is Canada able to commence theirs’ .

Opioid usage is a huge epidemic that our world is currently facing. Medical marijuana can change that as well as enhancing medicine as we comprehend it. The rate of hospitalization due to opioid poisoning has been increasing, with an average of 13 hospitalizations per day in 2014–2015, compared to an average of nine hospitalizations per day in 2007–2008 in Canada 4,3,2. In the United States, states that have legalized marijuana have indicated a 20% decline in opioid overdose deaths in an eleven-year period3. Medical marijuana has also benefited cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. Marijuana retains the capability to reduce nausea and vomiting and to augment appetite in patients debilitated by AIDS and cancer.

Treating neurological issues is where cannabis excels. CNN broadcasted a documentary about Charlotte Figi a little girl diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome1. This syndrome caused Charlotte to have 300 grand mal, unconscious seizures but when given concentrated cannabis, otherwise known as Charlotte’s Web, she would now be reduced to 2-3 nightly epileptic episodes per comparison to her previous 502. Currently, the world is in a place where people receive inadequate medical and interventional care for opioid addicts and chronic disease patients, why are people afraid of legalizing medical marijuana when it could help so many?

In the 1920s politicians in the United States decided to prohibit the manufacturing, vending, and consumption of alcohol and it was a failure. Instead of improving hygiene, boosting the economy and reducing crime, it did the complete opposite, raising questions on whether prohibition is effective. In Amsterdam “coffeeshops” are everywhere, they are not known for their coffee drinks but rather their dispensaries of cannabis. Yet, the government has had suspicions about the “coffeeshops” and proceeded to close numerous shops down to gain profit. Nevertheless, coffeeshops enabled people to consume weed in a more social environment, instead of behind the wheel or in excessive amounts at home. The advice to Canada being give people options and resources to prevent bad outcomes.

Recreational marijuana in Canada could generate substantial taxation revue and take away profits from the black market. Furthermore, legalization of marijuana in Canada could reduce the Government’s spending on the enforcement of federal marijuana laws. Legalization could mean more regulation, in the overall safety and quality of marijuana on the market. Statistics show a significant racial disparity in the enforcement of marijuana laws: even though white and black people use marijuana at roughly the same rate, a black person in the United States is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession2. Deterring from the legitimacy of these claims. Public health is a concern for those not in favour of the legalization of cannabis, nonetheless, the legislation states that people can only use marijuana in private residences, and units or balconies.

Adolescents are the most prevalent illicit drug consumers. At this vulnerable age there are consequences for using marijuana, but studies have shown that the longterm effects are not as harmful as other substances such as; alcohol and tobacco. But individuals older than 22 years old, are less likely to begin consuming the drug in the first place, diminishing the chance of becoming addicted. Consuming cannabis during adolescence interferes with the function and development of this brain system affecting a teenager’s mental health and cognitive functioning. Adults are less susceptible to the long term neurological effects of cannabis. Is it a matter of reducing adolescent access to marijuana and setting regulations for adults, that sets society up for success?

All in all, cannabis is more than the gate-way party drug, but the ending to the silence, emptiness and banging on the wall – a relief, an oxymoron, that is what cannabis is.

Works Cited 

  1. www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2015001/article/14201-eng.htm. 
  2. www.aclu.org/issues/mass-incarceration/smart-justice/war-marijuana-black-andwhite.
  3. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2827693/. 
  4. https://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/WDR_2010/2.4_Cannabis.pdf

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