Niagara College Canada recently launched Canada’s first full post secondary, one year post graduate program for commercial cannabis production. Out of over 300 applicants, only 24 students were accepted into this elitist program, including PhD candidates, scientists and engineers. The program is centered around 3 core fundamentals; large scale crop cultivation, business fundamentals and of course cannabis law.
Other schools are also offering a wide range of cannabis courses of study. Durham college is offering 2 day workshops called medical cannabis fundamentals for business professionals, which is designed as more of an introduction to the cannabis industry. Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers an in depth online course, consisting of three eight week courses in growing and production, marketing, and sales and financing. McGill University is also in the process of putting together a cannabis cultivation diploma program, however no official start date for the program has been announced as of yet.
Cannabis for Canadian Armed Forces
Going Even Greener?Ireland - Has been famously stubborn regarding cannabis, it is currently illegal to possess or cultivate marijuana under the misuse of drugs act 1977, though the laws have loosened slightly for some patients and medical professionals with authorization. An estimated 77% of Irish Citizens support the medical marijuana legalization movement, and finally in 2017 Health Minister Simon Harris announced that he would support medical marijuana licensing for patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy side effects, however as of yet, no formal regulations have been finalized.
Some patients have been able to obtain medical licensing for chronic health conditions, by directly petitioning the government under the misuse of drugs regulations 2017. Such as 8 year old Ava Berry, an epilepsy patient whose family has recently announced that she is now officially pharma free and is being treated solely with CBD and THC. Ireland is beginning to make strides in the medical marijuana movement thanks to the efforts of advocates such as Ava’s mother Vera Twomey, who spoke in the house of commons in London this summer, explaining the benefits of alternative medicine for the treatment of conditions such as severe epilepsy. While Twomey, and other medical cannabis advocates are making strides in the fight for medical marijuana in Ireland, there is still a long way to go.
Brits Continue to Suffer due to Lack of Access to Medical Cannabis
Many Doctors and medical professionals have been unwilling to support cannabis medicines due to a letter released by the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA), representing Doctors who care for children with severe epilepsy, suggesting that cannabis could cause brain damage. Professor Barnes stated "They have said that THC is dangerous to the developing brain, which I have to say is a complete misinterpretation," he said. "They are wrong to say that. The evidence that medical cannabis can be useful to treat pain, spasticity, nausea, vomiting, chemotherapy and epilepsy is pretty robust.".
Barnes further explains "There is some evidence that high-THC, low-CBD street cannabis does cause longer term cognitive damage among heavy recreational, mainly male, users starting in adolescence, however there are other studies that have refuted that," he states. "CBD counteracts the effect of THC, so there is effectively no risk of these children getting cognitive damage from the tiny bit of THC we're suggesting. It's completely illogical to say, 'You can't have THC because it causes brain damage, but you can have this drug that causes brain damage, and you can continue to have seizures which also cause brain damage.'"
In order to qualify for medical cannabis, Patients must prove “exceptional clinical need”, which some Doctors are interpreting to mean that patients must try and fail every other anti epileptic drug available. There are 21 anticonvulsant drugs available, and each medication takes weeks to titrate, and also takes weeks to wean off of, as well as come with a wide range of side effects, including severe rebound seizures.