May 8, 2014
Canada recently experienced the world’s first medical marijuana recall last month.
The details are incredibly sketchy. All that was said by the company was that it was voluntarily recalling a batch that affected 63 users, citing “issues with production practices.” Users were urged to cease use of the product immediately.
As we have mentioned many times before, marijuana is all too often thought of as harmless. Like any drug—legal or illegal—it has side effects, and while some of those may be tolerable, others may not. Pretending that marijuana is the sole exception to this rule is not only dishonest, but it is factually wrong..
What is factually accurate is that drugs—again, good or bad—change you. Whether recreational use of marijuana or the subject of the medical marijuana recall, marijuana causes negative changes to the brain “in areas you don’t want to make changes.”
You might not think there is a problem—I mean, hey, it is “only” weed, right?—but recent research from Northwestern University and Harvard shows that relatively light marijuana use causes density, volume, and shape changes in the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala. These areas are responsible for regulating motivation, but also emotions and some forms of mental illness.
Perhaps more disturbingly, there is a direct correlation between the amount of marijuana used and the extent of the aforementioned changes to these regions of the brain. Although correlation does not necessarily equal causation, it is hard to ignore that there seems to be a relationship between the two.
Further, it has been shown that there is a decline in regular marijuana users’ IQ. Especially since the brain is still developing between the late twenties and early thirties, these collective findings show that marijuana may not be as bad as heroin or cocaine, but they certainly are not without their own risks as well.
That is one of the trade-offs: the more people come to use marijuana and the more widely accepted it becomes, the more information will come out. Not all of this information will be bad, but not all of it will be good, either. As a highly politicized issue, there is a definite trend for both advocates and opponents to dig their respective heels into the ground.
At this stage, as evidenced by the medical marijuana recall, many agencies around the world are in a period of trial and error, seeing what works, and what needs to be changed. There is no telling how long this period will be, and there is no telling what the consequences will be for those who are impacted by poor policies or laxed regulation.
For now, it looks like it is here to stay, but the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.
What do you think about the medical marijuana recall or policies? Should we be concerned, or is this a part of the process for legalizing a previously illegal substance? Let us know in the comments