The Healthy High
England: Some of the world’s leading experts on cannabis have come together to create a review called the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines. These experts have examined the, unfortunately, few scientific research-based studies available and have complied 10 important tips to reduce health risks when using marijuana.
1. Understand that there is no such thing as a “risk-free” drug. The only way to guarantee your health will not be effected by cannabis is to not use it.
2. The most adverse health and social reactions to marijuana happen to those that began using before the age of 16. Researchers recommend delaying the use of marijuana until after the age of 16 to minimize health problems.
3. Avoid strains that have high THC and low CBD. This is recommended because CBD has been proven to contain medical benefits.
4. Do NOT use synthetic cannabis! Also known as spice, it has been associated with severe acute mental health problems as well as death.
5. Find an alternative option to smoking. Putting anything into your lungs is harmful and can cause cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness. Edibles are the healthiest option when consuming cannabis.
6. While thought of as the best way to absorb the THC for users, experts advise against holding the smoke in the lungs. Holding the smoke not only increases respiratory trauma, but also increases the amount of toxins, other than THC, being absorbed into the body.
7. Take a break from using. Researchers recommend taking a break from marijuana a few times a week to allow your body to recover from ingesting foreign contaminants.
8. Wait at least 6 hours before driving or riding a bike after using. It is a fact that marijuana impairs judgement and slows reaction, waiting to drive is the best way to stay safe when using.
9. People with a history of mental illness or drug problems as well as those that are pregnant should avoid using the drug altogether. The altered mind state that comes with using can effect a fetus or cause a previously unknown mental health issue to become more pronounced.
10. Not following the above guidelines, or combining any of the above (i.e. Using high THC under the age of 16) will increase health risks.
Authors of this guide claim they understand that the prohibition of marijuana has failed, and that the important steps now involve educating users on the safety and effectiveness of the plant. They believe denial or avoidance are the least effective methods of health with health in a population.
Canadian Government Needs More Pot
Canada: While Canada is working on their legalized recreational and medical marijuana laws, the government is also worrying about having enough supply to meet demand. At a meeting of finance ministers last month, Charles Sousa, the finance minister for Ontario, stated, “Ultimately, the biggest problem that appears after today's discussion is one of supply, so we want to make certain that, when we do proceed, there is sufficient supply to accommodate the activity because what we're trying to do is curb the illicit use and organized crime that now exists around it.”
Canada has already been fast tracking the approval process for growers of medicinal marijuana to ensure patients are able to access the care they need. Government officials have been encouraging legalizing marijuana as a way of keeping the drug out of the hands of children and off the black market. However, now they are trying to move the process along at a quicker pace. They worry if there is not enough supply to meet demand when new laws go into effect next year, the black market will still be utilized. Supporters of legalization are more concerned about the lack of supply pushing back the recreational legalization date.
Large Caribbean Haul
Antigua: Six people have been arrested after a 24-hour operation involving Officers from the National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP). Officers carried out operations in three different locations. They were able to seize roughly 295 pounds of marijuana worth nearly $1 million. Officials believe all the marijuana obtained during the raids originated in South America, most likely Venezuela or Columbia. The suspects arrested will be held while the investigation continues, but will be charged with distributing illicit drugs.
Synthetic Marijuana: Still Dangerous
Cyprus: Last month two students, a girl and boy ages 16, were hospitalized after using synthetic marijuana. The students had just finished school exams and were still on school grounds when they decided to smoke “bonsai” a synthetic form of marijuana commonly called “spice”.
According to Cyprus Mail, the girl fell to the ground first with her hands shaking and talking to herself, followed by the boy who showed the same symptoms. Other students found the pair and found teachers for assistance. School staff called an ambulance which transported the pair to the hospital. Officers questioned the students and found that while they had smoked real marijuana in the past, this was their first attempt at smoking the synthetic kind. While the education minister noted that drug use among students was not on the rise, one case is enough to cause concern.
Australia: An unidentified teen is being investigated by Animal Right Investigators after posting a video on snapchat of blowing thick marijuana smoke into a kitten’s face. The video shows a young man taking a large hit of a bong, before blowing the smoke into the kitten’s nose and mouth. Animal rights activists believe the animal was already stoned before the clip begins as it doesn’t struggle to get away from the smoke and its body already appears to be limp. Though to some this may seem like a funny or harmless action, experts warn that it can be extremely dangerous for the animal.
Marijuana has recently started being used in the US by pet owners hoping the medication will help their furry family members. The medication used by pet owners, however, comes in oil form that can be mixed with the animals’ food. No vet, loving pet owner, or decent person would recommend blowing smoke into the face of a helpless, defenseless creature. The investigation into the pet owner and abuser is ongoing.