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6 Facts That Totally Changed What I Thought I Knew About Cannabis

This primer for newbies will teach you how to navigate the world of weed. 

OK, I admit it: I’ve always been a bit of a dunce when it comes to cannabis. I’m 31 and have only smoked a joint a handful of times with friends (and once on a first date when we got so high that I burst into hysterical laughter because there were too many pho options on the menu). Until I spoke with Up Cannabis’s horticulture manager, Katie Iarocci, who manages the growing, harvesting and processing of Up’s plants, words like sativa, indica, cannabinoid and terpene were gibberish to me. Katie was kind enough to answer all my questions, changing everything I thought I knew about cannabis. (As we already discussed, I didn’t know much.) If you’re in the same boat as me—a cannabis newbie and sort of curious—get ready to learn a whole new language.

Fact #1: Cannabis has a lot of slang names.

Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot, kush—they’re all basically the same thing. The big difference? Cannabis is the technical name of the plant, whereas all other terms are slang. Points to you if you already knew this factoid before reading this article… because I didn’t before writing it.

Fact #2: There are many types of cannabis and each one creates a different experience.

I always thought pot was pot—that it all looks and smells similar and basically has the same effect on the brain and body. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The two most common types of cannabis are sativas and indicas (which then have infinite strains within those categories, as well as hybrid versions). Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids are preferred for daytime use because they “promote more of an energetic, creative high,” says Katie, whereas indicas, or indica-dominant hybrids, are better for relaxation and nighttime use. Find out how cannabis can be used as a remedy for stress.

Fact #3: Just because you hated one strain of cannabis, doesn’t mean you’ll hate another.

If you tried cannabis once and didn’t like it, you might want to give it another go. Aside from the fact that you might prefer a sativa over an indica and vice versa, each strain will also have its own unique levels of cannabinoids—over 100 chemical compounds that make up the cannabis plant. The two best-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD), which combats pain, inflammation and anxiety, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is psychoactive (meaning it will get you high) and acts as a muscle relaxant and antiemetic (i.e. it prevents nausea and vomiting). The levels of CBD and THC in the strain you choose will affect your experience.

Still totally confused about where to start? Thanks to legalization in Canada, it will be much easier to learn about the strains that a brand offers, though it will still likely involve some trial and error to find the strains that work best for you. Up has five cannabis strains to start: Eldorado (a sativa with high THC and low CBD for an energizing, creative high), Gems (a sativa-dominant hybrid with a stimulating head high and a bit of a relaxed body feeling), Grace (an indica that will put you to sleep), 50 MC (an indica-dominant hybrid that offers mild sedation and is better for nighttime use) and Morning Moon, pictured above (an indica-dominant hybrid that’s high in CBD and is perfect for a novice user).

Fact #4: Each strain has a unique scent and flavour.

Remember how I told you I thought all weed smelled the same? Katie felt the same way when she was younger, but now she can tell a strain just by its scent. That’s because each one has a special blend of terpenes, which are “organic compounds produced by a wide variety of plants that are used in perfumery, aromatherapy and even food flavouring,” says Katie. “When you smell lavender essential oil, for example, those are terpenes that you’re inhaling and you’re receiving those molecules into your olfactory nerves and sending messages to your brain.” Those terpenes have the ability to promote wellness, the same way that breathing in lavender essential oil promotes a calm feeling. Here’s some more information on how terpenes can boost your health.

Fact #5: There’s this thing called “The Entourage Effect” and it matters for consumption.

For the same reason that vitamin capsules often won’t be as effective as simply eating a wide variety of foods filled with nutrients, consuming isolated cannabinoids such as CBD won’t have the same effect as if you were to “consume cannabis with the entire profile of cannabinoids intact,” says Katie. “That’s called the entourage effect and it’s a theory that’s gaining a lot of traction as research continues.” It doesn’t mean that taking isolated CBD capsules or using CBD oil has no effect. It simply means that using the entire bud—whether you smoke it, vape it or eat it in an edible—will potentially have more impact on your overall wellbeing. Hopefully, with legalization in Canada, more research can be conducted into this theory.

Fact #6: The illicit cannabis market was dominated by men, but that’s changing.

Guess what? Cannabis isn’t just for men, even though men have historically dominated the space, choosing and using strains for their own benefit. But as Canadian cannabis brands like Up begin to enter the marketplace, they’ve started to target women with advertising and education. Of course, selling to women helps the bottom line of any company, but it’s also important that cannabis be available to women if they choose to partake. “We could really use female consumers’ feedback,” says Katie. “Historically cannabis works for men, but maybe there are other strains that are better for women.” Plus, cannabis shows promise for helping alleviate menstrual symptoms—something that men know nothing about.

Think you’re ready to try some cannabis again or for the first time? Dosing is key. Up goes by the motto that “one puff is enuff,” because until you understand how a strain affects you, you should start with just a small dose and slowly increase. “It’s a huge misconception that you take a puff and can be transported into outer space,” says Katie. Becoming “greened out” or incredibly high (see my above first date experience) only happens if you smoke or ingest too much weed at once. So take a puff and see how it goes. You might love it, you might want to try a different strain or it might not be your thing.

Whatever you decide, have fun and be responsible, too. 

Andrea Karr
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9 Remarkable Healing Properties Of CBD

Cannabis has been stigmatized for decades, but scientists and society cannot deny that the plant’s active ingredients, known as Cannabinoids, provide a natural remedy to a host of health issues. While CBD, extracted from the cannabis plant, is structurally similar to THC, part of the allure is that it won’t get you high.

“CBD is now the most researched cannabinoid on the market and rightly so because the studies go back to the 1940s proving its effectiveness on the nervous and immune systems, with no toxicity, side effects, nor psycho-activity,” says Jared Berry, CEO of Isodiol, a company that produces hemp-extracted CBD for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cosmetic companies.

Cannabis is known to have 85+ different cannabinoids, many of them potentially having health benefits.

“Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond,” writes NORML, a foundation that works to reform marijuana laws.

According to research, cannabinoids synergize and help support humans’ built-in Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It was in 1992 that scientists discovered that the ECS plays a direct role in homeostasis, which regulates every metabolic process in the body, such as pain sensation, appetite, temperature regulation, stress reactivity, immune function, and sleep, as well as other processes. Even more interesting is that muscle and fat tissue also utilize these receptors to control their processes.

So basically, CBD communicates with our body’s main command center to keep things running as they should. Pretty amazing.

While the government has arguably made selling CBD quite difficult, the US Department of Health and Services ironically patented cannabinoids in 2001.

The FDA and DEA refuse to change their stance on cannabis.

“Naturally, this shows a certain amount of hypocrisy that there is ‘no accepted medical use’ for cannabis according to federal law,” Sam Mendez, an intellectual property and public policy lawyer who serves as the executive director of the University of Washington’s Cannabis Law & Policy Project recently told the Denver Post.  “And yet here you have the very same government owning a patent for, ostensibly, a medical use for marijuana.”

Politics aside, let’s look at just nine of the myriad ways CBD can help improve  health.

EPILEPSY
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by unusual nerve cell activity in the brain. Each year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with this condition. Many turn to mind-numbing medications, brain surgeries and invasively implanted electrical stimulation devices, with little to no relief.

Yet, 20 years of research has shown that CBD has anti-seizure activity, and has been used successfully to treat drug-resistant, epileptic children with no side effects.

“CBD oil is also really good option for people with seizures, because you want a method of delivery they can’t choke on. As an oil, it can be rubbed on the gums and under the tongue,” adds Payton Curry, the founder of Flourish Cannabis, and a huge proponent of CBD. Curry views cannabis as a vegetable, and uses everything from the bud to the root stock to maximize its non-psychoactive properties.

DEPRESSION
These days, just thinking of the future of the health care system in this country and the assaults on our environment is enough to get a person down and out.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, in any given year, persistent depressive disorder PDD, affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population ages 18 and older. That’s about 3.3 million American adults.

In 2015, an estimated 16.1 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

CBD has shown to have antidepressant-like actions, enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling through a 5-HT1A receptor-dependent mechanism.

ANXIETY
We live in a Xanax-addled society. Anxiety Disorders today affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States, which equates to approximately 40 million adults, between the ages of 18 to 54.

One of CBD’s most promising implications is in the realm of anti-anxiety. Studies show that CBD can positively impact behavior and reduce psychological measures of stress and anxiety in conditions such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

CBD also significantly reduced cognitive impairment and discomfort in speech performance, and significantly decreased angst surrounding public speaking.

Even some pet owners have reported that using CBD oil on their dogs has calmed them down, writes Gunhee Park, Co-Founder of Ministry of Hemp.

While more research is needed to illustrate optimal dosage for anti-anxiety, consider this an opportunity to experiment and learn what works for you.

OXIDATIVE STRESS
Today, chronic disease is on the rise like never before with oxidative stress playing a significant causative role. Oxidative stress occurs when the body has too many free radicals and can’t counteract the damage. People fall prey when eating a nutrient deficient diet or when they experience an onslaught of toxins and the body can’t keep up and detox, causing more symptoms of dis-ease.

Oxidative stress is associated with a number of ailments including neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, gene mutations and cancer.

How amazing that CBD is particularly beneficial in the treatment of oxidative stress-associated diseases of the CNS, because cannabinoids’ ability to cross the blood brain barrier and exert their antioxidant effects in the brain.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Chronic low-level inflammation can severely erode your health; the silent lurker contributes to at least seven of the 10 leading causes of mortality in the United States, which include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and nephritis.

While real organic food and proper nutrition should be the base of any anti-inflammatory protocol, CBD has shown to significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain without causing dependency or tolerance.

CHRONIC PAIN AND NEURO-PROTECTION
Studies also indicate that this magical compound can help reduce chronic pain, which is fantastic considering America is witnessing a serious and deadly opioid epidemic. To put things in perspective, we are now losing more people to opioids than from firearms or car crashes – combined.

Cannabis can regulate immune functions and shows positive effects where neurons have been damaged, which makes it a safe and effective treatment for ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS. CBD has also slowed down cell damage in diabetes patients and worked effectively to block progression of arthritis.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
As if CBD wasn’t already a home run, CBD also plays a positive role on our metabolism, and body weight regulation.

In a published study in the scientific journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

CBD was found to:

  •       Stimulate genes and proteins that enhance the breakdown and oxidation of fat.
  •       Increase the number and activity of mitochondria, which increases the body’s ability to burn calories).
  •       Decrease the expression of proteins involved in lipogenesis (fat cell generation).
  •       Help induce fat browning.

SLEEP
Not sleeping can wreak havoc on your psyche and physique. According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder today.

Evidence suggests that CBD oil can improve quality of sleep and reduce anxiety. I can attest. One study found that CBD blocked anxiety-induced REM sleep suppression, resulting in better quality of sleep. Another study found that the oil reduced participants’ cortisol levels, which are linked to anxiety and stress in the body.

When it comes to doses for treatment, Gunhee writes that CBD dosing experiments have shown that small doses of CBD have an “active” effect, meaning it actually helps you stay active and focused while interestingly, large dosages have the opposite effect: sedation.

ADDICTION
How ironic that we can use a compound belonging to a Schedule 1 Drug (marijuana) to stop the addiction of other narcotics.

CBD is thought to modulate various neuronal circuits involved in drug addiction. A limited number of preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine and psychostimulant addictions. One of the most promising application is using CBD to curb the habits of cigarette smokers.

CBD can even be effective for the treatment of cannabis withdrawal syndrome and certainly helped me kick Xanax for good.

Many of these could replace synthetic drugs that have flooded the market and allow patients and customers to use a natural non addictive plant compound as a remedy.

In the words of Gunhee, co-founder of Populum: “…maybe that’s the exact reason why progress has been so slow; approval of CBD as a legitimate supplement and drug would be a significant blow to big pharmaceutical companies.”

By: Maryam Henein       May 12, 2017       About        Follow at @MaryamHenein


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Study Finds Alcohol Makes You Aggressive; Pot, Pretty Much the Opposite

Pot heads are mellow, drunks can be mean. That’s the common wisdom, and now, thanks to a group of researchers from the Netherlands, it has some scientific validation. In a just-published study in the journal Psychopharmacology, they found that—doh!—people on  booze act out, while people on pot peacefully space out.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression,” the researchers concluded.

The study itself sounds like fun. In a random, controlled trial, the researchers recruited 21 heavy pot smokers (at least three times a week), 20 heavy drinkers (at least three drinks a day for men, two for women), and a control group of 20 who used neither substance heavily.

alcohol_agression

They then had the drinkers drink until they were too drunk to legally drive (0.08% blood alcohol level) and the tokers vape up 300 micrograms of THC per kilogram of body weight, enough to get them nicely baked. The control group, being the control group, missed out on the intoxicants.

Then all three groups completed a number of tests designed to get people wound up. In one, subjects played a computer game in which the object was to win money by pressing buttons, but players’ efforts were undermined by an “adversary” that took money from them. The adversary was actually part of the computer program. In a second test, known as a “single category implicit association test,” subjects were shown images of violent and aggressive behavior and asked to match positive and negative words to the photos.

The researchers measured aggression by asking the subjects to rate how aggressive they felt on a 100-point scale, and weighed that against a baseline score established by asking them the same question before they had gotten wasted. And they ran the tests one more time a week later, with the same subjects, but without getting them high or drunk.

“Alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group,” the researchers found, but pot smokers became less aggressive when baked.

It wasn’t just subjective. While alcohol drinkers rated themselves as more aggressive when drunk, they were also found to be objectively more aggressive, as measured by their willingness to undermine their opponents in the computer game.

We already know that marijuana is a less harmful drug than alcohol, being both far less toxic and less addictive than booze. And now we get some scientific backing for something else that was already patently obvious.

By Phillip Smith       AlterNet       July 23, 2016       Hold the presses
Philip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.
source: www.alternet.org 

 

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Harm Caused By Drugs Table

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How to Reverse the Negative Effects of Marijuana Consumption

Every substance we put into our bodies has an impact on our mind and body functions. Marijuana is the most used illegal substance in the world. Millions of North Americans smoke marijuana occasionally (occasional users) while others use it on a regular basis (chronic users). As mentioned before, marijuana has a series of short and long term effects in several dimensions of the human body, and it’s not as light as presented, especially if there is an addiction or history of extended use, since often an addiction has tragic effects on the addict and their relatives. In this article we will address how to minimize the negative effects of marijuana. If you enjoy smoking or taking this drug, this could be a perfect way to minimize the possible guilt of using the substance and minimizing the negative side effects.

Minimizing and Reversing the Negative Effects of Chronic Marijuana Consumption

• Most people who use smoke their marijuana. Try using a vaporizer to minimize the side effects of the smoke in lungs. Marijuana could be a risk factor in pulmonary diseases like bronchitis or emphysema.
• Give yourself a break! The best way to minimize the effects of marijuana is by taking progressively fewer doses and progressively sensitizing the brain to low quantities. Sensitize is a reverse toleration. Toleration is a common phenomenon in substance abuse and is described as the need for higher substance concentrations to get the same effect . This occurs at a molecular level, where there the neurons get used to a particular quantity of the metabolites involved. If you take a periodic breaks from smoking, from 1 day to 1+ years, you’ll find the effects are stronger, because the brain starts to rebuild and to rest from the intense neurochemical firing, particularly in the brain reward center. If you don’t wish to stop smoking at all, take a few breaks every now and then to rest your brain and lungs, and clean your liver and blood from the chemicals involved. If you cannot stop, it may be a warning sign that you are addicted to cannabis.
• Move your body. Exercise. Smoking harms the body in 1000 different ways and scientists are still learning the effects of smoking in each of our cells. Exercise improves circulation, oxygen absorption, and appropriate wasting of toxins. Exercise is a preventive measure for lung cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It improves cognitive function as well, use exercise to improve your cardiovascular, mood and energy levels.
• Cognitive training. There is a debate if the popular brain gym training pages that circulates through internet are beneficial or not. Some propose that these type of games won’t transfer to real world situations. However, some studies suggest a positive effect in everyday functional outcomes. Games like chess, memory match, scrabble, puzzles, or hand coordination games like jenga, may be beneficial and help the brain to function even better.
• Yoga and anxiety. Some people use marijuana to relieve stress and to avoid anxiety. If you are less anxious, you will probably decrease the desire to smoke. Yoga and meditation have been shown to decrease social anxiety in several populations and improve quality of life. The focused attention on breath and sensations have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
• Detox. The by-products in marijuana are stored in fatty acids and secreted by sweat, feces, and urine. Some of the metabolites can store in your body for months, depending in the doses taken and body fat. Try fasting or detoxification with raw food and juice smoothies.

cannabis-infographic
By Andres Carvajal         Edited by Stephanie Dawson        Aug 19, 2013
 
Sources
  • Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15, 593–600
  • Mendonca GV, Pereira FD, Fernhall B. Effects of cigarette smoking on cardiac autonomic function during dynamic exercise. J Sports Sci. 2011 Jun;29(9):879-86
  • MARIJUANA & THE BRAIN, PART II: THE TOLERANCE FACTOR By Jon Gettman, July 1995 High Times


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Canada Plans to Use Its Marijuana Revenue in the Best Possible Way

Kyle Jaeger  DECEMBER 22ND 2015

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become one of the marijuana legalization movement’s greatest allies since taking office in October. And his latest plans for legal pot demonstrate how the public can benefit from marijuana whether or not they are smoking it.

Once the country implements its legalized marijuana system, Trudeau said that revenue from pot sales will fund addiction treatment, mental health services, and education programs. Rather than put the money toward general revenues, Canada intends to use cannabis sales to support public health.

“It was never about a money-maker. It was always about public health, public safety,” Trudeau told The Canadian Press last week.

To be sure, the prime minister recognizes that marijuana will likely bring in “a bit of revenue,” but he wants to make pot taxes low in order to keep the substance off the black market. Canada plans to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to cannabis; that means making marijuana affordable for eligible adults and preventing criminals from profiting off pot.

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“The fact is that, if you tax it too much as we saw with cigarettes, you end up with driving things towards a black market, which will not keep Canadians safe, particularly young Canadians,” Trudeau said.

The Canadian federal government appears to be taking a page straight from the Colorado legalization playbook with this latest announcement. As ATTN: previously reported, Colorado—which legalized marijuana for recreational and medical purposes in 2012—plans to use pot revenue to fund a range of social services, including addiction treatment and education programs.

But unlike the U.S. federal government, which prohibits marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, Canada’s Liberal party is already acting to remove cannabis use and possession from the country’s Criminal Code. Instead of punishing people for smoking pot, Trudeau said there will be new laws that severely punish those who provide pot to minors or drive while under the influence of marijuana.

“Trudeau promises to set up a task force with representatives from the three levels of government and, with input from experts in public health, substance abuse and policing, design a new system of marijuana sales and distribution,” The Canadian Press reported.

“We are going to get this right in a way that suits Canadians broadly, and specifically in their communities,” Trudeau said.

Kyle Jaeger is a Los Angeles-based reporter for ATTN:. He’s formerly written for VICE, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Morning News, among other publications.

source: www.attn.com


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Marijuana Prohibition Can do More Harm Than Good, Doctors Tell Federal Parties

Put public health 1st in pot policies, addiction doctors suggest

CBC News     Posted: Sep 21, 2015

If Canada’s new government chooses to legalize marijuana beyond medical use then it should get into the business of controlling its supply and sale to prevent the rise of a “Big Cannabis,” addiction specialists say.

Cannabis policy could be an issue ahead of October’s federal election. The governing Conservative party favours the status quo, the competing Liberals seek to legalize, regulate and tax, and the New Democrats support decriminalization. The Green Party has said it would legalize and tax marijuana.

In a commentary published in Monday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, addiction doctors describe the negative aspects of prohibiting cannabis use, such as fuelling the illegal drug trade and the high costs and harms associated with policing and prosecuting people.

“We’re hoping to provide some direction to policy-makers in Canada to encourage them to rethink their current policies around cannabis, to move away from prohibition because it doesn’t work and has a lot of harms associated with it,” Dr. Sheryl Spithoff, a family physician and addiction doctor at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and one of the coauthors of the paper, said in an interview.

Often the harms from prohibition versus harms from potential increased use of cannabis are falsely pitted against each other, Spithoff and her team said. But cannabis prohibition has shown to have no effect on rates of use in developed countries.

“A frequently cited concern with legalization is that it will allow the rise of Big Cannabis, similar to Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol. These powerful multinational corporations have revenues and market expansion as their primary goals, with little consideration of the impact on public health. They increase tobacco and alcohol use by lobbying for favourable regulations and funding huge marketing campaigns. It is important that the regulations actively work against the establishment of Big Cannabis,” the authors wrote.

They suggest that policy-makers draw on the extensive research on tobacco, alcohol and cannabis policy frameworks developed by public health researchers to create a Canadian approach that maximizes benefits and minimizes harm of the potentially addictive substance.

pot
Often the harms from prohibition
versus harms from potential increased use of cannabis
are falsely pitted against each other, doctors say.

A 2013 UNICEF report found that the prevalence of self-reported cannabis use among youth aged 11, 13 and 15 in the preceding year was highest in Canada at 28 per cent. Findings in other countries included:

  • Norway — 4%.
  • Spain — 24%.
  • The Netherlands — 17%.
  • United Kingdom — 18%.
  • U.S. — 22%.

“Our hope with legalizing it is that less youth will have access to it,” Spithoff said. “We’ll be able to achieve our public health objectives, restricting access; limited hours that stores are open; and also young people won’t have to go the illegal market to access cannabis. Especially for young adults, that’s risky. It allows them to be exposed to other substances, more harmful substances.”

In 2014, the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health estimated enforcement of cannabis laws costs Canadians $1.2 billion a year.

Spithoff said the harms of prohibition to individuals include the criminal records of 500,000 Canadians because of cannabis possession, stigma around its use and barriers to medical marijuana treatment.

In the CMAJ paper, the authors also compare the experiences with marijuana policies in the Netherlands, Spain, Uruguay and three U.S. states, where cannabis is legal for recreational use.

For example, Spithoff said Uruguay has a model that could be adapted for use in Canada, because it puts public health first. In contrast, the Dutch model hasn’t solved the “back door” illegal supply problem.

Uruguay has licensed producers and a government commission that purchases cannabis from growers. The government sells it to individuals through pharmacies. The commission has control over production, quality and prices and has the ability to undercut the illegal market. Uruguay has also set a cutoff for cannabis-impaired driving.

Canada legalized marijuana for medical use in 2001. Detailed rules for commercial production and use of medical marijuana were implemented in 2014.

At a marijuana dispensary in Toronto, the idea of legalizing recreational pot was met with skepticism.

While cannabis advocate Amy Brown welcomes some regulation, she disagrees that pot is a public health concern any more than tobacco or alcohol. She worries about what government control would mean for growing the plant.

“The word ‘monopoly’ is where I disagree. A monopoly means complete and utter control of this product,” Brown said. “Maybe an advisory board would be beneficial so that moms and pops who are growing their own cannabis can still grow their own.”

Related

source: www.cbc.ca