Medicinal Marijuana and Health Canada

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In 2012, Health Canada (HC) released a lengthy report to support “regulatory reform” for the “Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR)” that originally came into effect in Canada in August of 2001. Health Canada’s lengthy report was the driving force behind what has been described as Canada’s mew and soon to be the “multi-billion dollar cannabis business” and will be governed under the new “Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations” (MMPR) commencing April 1, 2014. Health Canada claims we are all safer with Big Business having sole control of growing this herb rather than the TLC that is presently provided to the plants from those authorized under the present system as growers. We are supposed to believe how dangerous and disgusting this plant is and it is only criminals, drop outs or other menaces to society associated with this gateway addicting drug.

Health Canada’s 2012 report claimed support for reform from Canadian court cases that favoured “distributing medical marijuana in a manner similar to other medication”. Not only that, HC continually reports that patients under the MMAR were also vocal for an overhaul of the MMAR because they were strongly against the application process and being limited to only one strain.

 

Since publicly announcing overhauling Canada’s MMAR in 2012, Health Canada would have us believe their biggest concern is for the health and safety of the patients whom they approved to grow beginning in 2001.. The report includes their concern with the high risk in home invasions from violent criminals wanting to steal the plants; the lack of security that would prevent diversion away from criminal activity; concern over fire hazard issues resulting from patient’s overloading electrical systems due to extra lighting and humidity required to grow the plants and their big concern over the need to protect children from areas where these plants grow because of the criminals associated with drugs. Health Canada as the authoritative body, determined we will all be much safer with large profit oriented corporations controlling the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana.

 

Back in 2012, the Department of Justice amended Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for purposes of the new MMPR.. Those amendments included Health Canada’s proposal for a “New Class of Practitioners” that meet the definition of ‘Practitioners” under subsection 2(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The new regulations called “New Classes of Practitioners Regulations” provide the means for a small group of specific “practitioners” the ability to prescribe or possess dried marijuana under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This new group of practitioners specifically include: midwives; nurse practitioners and podiatrists. However, for purposes of the majority of controlled substances, control remains with medical doctors in order to prevent diversion to illicit activities.

 

In Ontario, a large number of people have a great deal of difficulty with finding a doctor who will prescribe cannabis as the patient’s preferred choice and avoid the number of side effects that always exist with pharmaceutical medicine. The reluctance of doctors in Ontario with prescribing cannabis can be found at the web site of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’whom oversee the practice of medicine in the province. This regulating board openly encourages their members to “consider prescribing the oral pharmaceutical form of cannabinoids” since “there are no adequate studies that prove marijuana’s effectiveness … adverse effects of marijuana use include the harms associated with smoking”. http://www.cpso.on.ca/policies-publications/policy/medical-marijuana –

Although the above may have some people scratching their heads, a review of Schedule II of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act provides even more confusion and contradictions. Schedule II appears to solely exist for that devil weed known as cannabis – and includes 0.cannabis resin and cannabis (marijuana) and the synthetic drugs known as Nabilone (Cesamet) manufactured by Bauer plus GW’s manufactured tetrahydrocannabinol (a.k.a. Marinol or Dronabinol or simply THC).

wo additional “synthetic” compounds also included under Schedule II were originally invented in 1949 in an attempt to duplicate the then unknown THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. These two 1949 preparations are called Pyrahexl and Dimethytheptyl.

 

Last and certainly not least but very puzzling is why two well known cannabinoids that provide superb medical and health benefits without the psychoactive “high” are – Cannabidiol and Cannabinol – CBD and CBN! These two cannabinoids are known anti-psychotic, yet both are included as a schedule II controlled substance in Canada??

Schedule II of this Act states “any and all forms of cannabis including any and all preparations, derivatives and/or synthetic preparations” as prohibited and any contravention is considered an indictable offence.

 

Schedules VII and VIII define what is considered to be trafficking or possession respectively and is based on the quantity involved. Subsection 4(8) of the Act defines “amount” as “any mixture or substance, or the whole of the plant, that contains a detectable amount of the substance”. Schedule VIII of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act defines possession to be amounts greater than 1 gram but less than 3 KG of cannabis resin and for cannabis (marijuana) possession is an amount greater than 30 grams but also less than 3 KG or 6.6 lbs..

 

“Possession” is defined as “knowingly located on a person or in the custody of another or knowingly in any place, regardless of whether that person owns or occupies the place or if a group is aware that one or two or more are holding” they are all considered to be “in possession”. Punishment for possession can vary between a sentence of six months, a fine of one thousand dollars or both – up to a maximum sentence of five years less a day.

 

Trafficking – “to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver, either directly or indirectly and whether or not for consideration”. Schedule VII defines trafficking as amounts greater than 3 kg ( 6.6 lbs) for both cannabis resin and cannabis (marijuana). The maximum sentence if convicted of trafficking in a Schedule II is life! However, all circumstances are different and the Act contains provisions allowing the Minister the discretion to make amendments as seen fit.

 

Cannabinoids were first discovered in the 1940’s when cannabidiol and cannabinol, CBD and CBN respectively, were first identified. A number of years later, in 1964, THC took the spotlight once it’s structure was determined and identified.

 

For over fifty years it has been known that CBD is a very powerful cannabinoid that can greatly be of benefit in treating a number of diseases and disorders without providing any psychoactive effects. CBD is effective as a muscle relaxant and as a treatment for reducing muscle spasms. CBD is also the preferred treatment for”Dravet Syndrome” a severe form of epilepsy that apparently is non-responsive to most anti-seizure pharmaceutical medication. In fact, there is a very touching story about a Mother’s fight for her little girl named Kaitlyn who, sadly, has Dravet Syndrome. The little girl is cute and her story can be found at the following link: http://www.fight4kate.com/

 

The Mother has been fighting very hard in trying to access CBD as the preferred treatment for her little girl in Canada.

 

The Mother has witnessed how incredibly positive results have been using CBD as a treatment for Kate,. The family are forced to head south of the border to the US where they are able to access this medicine, with no side effects and no “high” associated with it.

 

Not only is cannabidiol effective for Dravet Syndrom, it reduced epilepsies by almost 100% while reacquiring cognitive and physical skills! Children who were previously confined to wheelchairs make huge leaps in what otherwise would remain a delayed development.

 

Canadian Parents are forced to become refugees in places such as Colorado where CBD is available! In Canada, CBD is NOT available and Health Canada, in their wisdom of protecting children, deny the only medication that can actually change children’s quality of life, something the pharmaceutical industry is unable to do.

 

Kate’s family has also provided information and is requesting signatures on letters that will be sent directly to Health Canada’s Office of Controlled Substances.

 

Please help in this fight for the right of Canadians to use cannabis oil and other prohibited edibles as effective treatment but denied by Health Canada. The following link awaits your much needed signature:

 

http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/make-cannabidiol-cbd-available-in-canada

 

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