One of Canada's most prestigious universities, McGill University, recently published a videotaped discussion on cannabis. The talk is framed in light of Justin Trudeau's recent election in Canada and his promise to legalize cannabis, but a lot of the discussion points are relevant to any jurisdiction considering what to do about cannabis.
Dr. Mark Ware, Associate Professor in the McGill Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Anesthesiology, provided some noteworthy insights. We encourage you to watch the entire video, but here are some of his comments from the discussion.
On former PM Stephen Harper's claim that marijuana is worse than tobacco
"I don't think there's a single metric that you can use that can prove that that statement is true. It's clearly not infinitely worse than tobacco. In fact, in many, many ways cannabis is far safer than tobacco."
On whether cannabis is addictive
"There are people who have trouble controlling their cannabis use, especially if they start using it early and use a lot of it...[but] cannabis is much less addictive than a number of other substances like tobacco, alcohol, nicotine, coffee."
On cannabis and cancer
"There is some evidence suggesting that THC and the other ingredients may have this ability to take cancer cells and cause them to die, or to die off or to restrict blood supply to tumor cells that are spreading."
On cannabis and pain management
"The drug has what I call broad spectrum effect. It seems to somehow help with the pain, but also with the anxiety. It helps sometimes with sleep. It can help with some of the functional limitations they feel."
Other topics in this broad-ranging chat: the role of big pharma in legalization, the fate of small cannabis farms, regulating teen use, comparisons with lotteries, potential tax revenue, savings in law enforcement costs, regulating driving while intoxicated, safest methods of ingestion, and the effects on the black market as drug money is made legal money.