From The Editor

Marijuana Madness

Marijuana madness is happening across North America. It’s only a matter of time now before marijuana is legalized in Canada, as is already the case in Colorado, California, and several other American states. This is an alarming turn of events which flies in the face of its shady history and scientific evidence which show long-term harm to consumers of the “weed.”

The Liberal government in Canada, led by left-wing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, voted to legalize the public sale of marijuana on November 27, 2017. This bill is now before the Senate, whose members show little interest in obstructing its implementation across Canada. We fear that many have set their sights on the lucrative taxes they plan to impose on its consumption.

Individual provinces in Canada have been given until July 2018 to have their plans in place for its public sale. Most provinces are choosing to make it available through licensed liquor boards. Meanwhile, growers and wholesalers are madly competing for market share as they position themselves to gain from the massive profits anticipated from an exponential increase in the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.

It is blatantly obvious that giving unrestricted access to marijuana is madness, for while Members of Parliament (MPs) deliberated and voted for its legislation, warnings of marijuana’s harm were posted on the Government of Canada’s website. These warnings are still being posted while they continue to proceed with implementing the sale of marijuana.

Health Canada’s website warns:

“Contrary to popular belief, people can become addicted to cannabis. Individuals who use cannabis can develop a cannabis use disorder, which at its extreme can result in addiction. Continued, frequent and heavy cannabis use can cause physical dependency and addiction. Research has shown that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in cannabis causes an increase in levels of dopamine, the pleasure chemical, in the brain. This motivates people to keep using it.

Addiction can develop at any age, but youth are especially vulnerable as their brains are still developing. Some people are also more prone to becoming addicted than others. It’s estimated that 1 in 11 (9%) of cannabis users will develop an addiction to it. This statistic rises to about 1 in 6 (17%) for people who started using cannabis as a teenager. If a person smokes cannabis daily, the risk of addiction is 25% to 50%.

Problematic cannabis use can include some or all of the following behaviours:

  • failing to fulfill major duties at work, school or home
  • giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of cannabis use
  • consuming it often and in larger amounts or over a longer period than they intended
  • being unable to cut down on or control cannabis use

People who display most or all of these behaviors over a 12-month period may have cannabis addiction.

Some people can develop a tolerance to the effects of cannabis. Tolerance is characterized by a need for a larger dose of a drug to maintain the original effects. Tolerance to some of the effects of cannabis can develop after a few doses. In some people, tolerance can eventually lead to physical dependence and addiction.”

There is also an abundance of literature on American government sites highlighting the dangers of marijuana use. Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the American National Institute on Drug Abuse, warned the public against the unwarranted use of marijuana.

“Because marijuana impairs short-term memory and judgment and distorts perception, it can impair performance in school or at work and make it dangerous to drive. It also affects brain systems that are still maturing through young adulthood, so regular use by teens may have negative and long-lasting effects on their cognitive development, putting them at a competitive disadvantage and possibly interfering with their well-being in other ways. Also, contrary to popular belief, marijuana can be addictive, and its use during adolescence may make other forms of problem use or addiction more likely.”

Knowing the widespread harm caused by marijuana, any government that legalizes its sale for recreational use is acting irresponsibly. Remember that today’s product is many times stronger than its earlier forms. Since the 1960s, when scientists made breakthrough discoveries on how to extract the drug for its THC value, the strength of each gram of marijuana prepared for sale has multiplied. The higher the THC content the more growers can charge for their product. We tremble, therefore, for the future of our nations as marijuana sales escalate along with its potency.

Any right-thinking person will avoid this current madness. Christians especially, who trust the Lord for their good health and sound mind, have strong reasons to avoid marijuana use altogether. Knowing then the physical and mental harm this drug causes, let us remember the exhortation of the apostle Paul: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

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By Ian Goligher

Rev. Ian Goligher is the pastor of Cloverdale FPC, Vancouver, BC. He was Editor of Current from 2014 to 2019.