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What’s all the buzz about Marijuana?

Adventures in Eldercare Special Report

It’s difficult right now to pick up a newspaper or open a news app and not hear about marijuana. Canada is set to be the first western nation to completely legalize recreational marijuana. This is happening in the very near future, Oct. 17, 2018. That’s only a couple of weeks away!

Marijuana has been illegal in Canada since the 1930’s when it was classed with opium and heroin as a dangerous drug and consumption or possession could earn you a jail term. That is still the case today, but on Oct. 17 it will be legal to consume or possess marijuana on your person or in your home. It will still be illegal to sell marijuana, selling will only be allowed by the government or retailers that the government has licenced. The main reason behind legalization is to eliminate the black market of illegal selling and transportation of marijuana.

Another reason that marijuana is poised to become legal is to eliminate the medical marijuana program. For years now, people with a medical prescription for marijuana have been able to legally buy and consume the product. Insurance companies do not want to be paying for your marijuana through your health benefit plans, so they have been very keen to see marijuana leave the medical realm and become purely a recreational product like alcohol or tobacco. This way, the use of marijuana becomes a personal responsibility, the user assumes the cost and consequences of use.

When marijuana becomes legal it will only be sold by the government directly to the consumer through mail order. You order your product and it gets delivered to your door. The government estimates that this will be for approx. six months as they prepare retailers to sell directly to the public next year.

Marijuana is consumed by millions of Canadians. Why? Relief from anxiety, pain reduction and elevating mood are the most common reasons people consume this product. There are two main active chemicals in Marijuana, THC and CBD. THC is the chemical that gives the person the ‘high’, it affects the brain and can change mood and anxiety levels or negatively lead to paranoia in some people. CBD is a more recent discovery and many people are using concentrated CBD products to help with pain. In many studies CBD is showing great promise, it seems to help with MS and seizures. But much more research is needed on both chemicals and their effects on our bodies and minds.

Marijuana can be consumed in many different ways. The whole dried flowers are crushed and smoked in a rolled paper or a pipe. The crushed flower can also be vaped (using a very high heat instrument). It can also be consumed in the concentrated oil or drop form and can be added to baked goods, candies or butter, these are called edibles. They are even adding marijuana concentrate into skin and beauty products!

There are many unanswered questions with the legalization pending; smoking in apartments or in your car, at the park or the beach, at work or at school. All these situations must be examined and there will be court challenges that will eventually define the law. Another big issue is crossing the border into the US, Marijuana is still illegal under federal US law, although there are a few states that have legalized it. When crossing the border, the smell of marijuana in your car will surely have you turned away.

With all the unknowns there is one thing we can be sure of Canada is going to change in many ways, we just don’t know right now if it will be for better of for worse. Only time will tell.

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