Article by Dana Larsen, Cannabis Culture
Canada’s health and addiction organizations have released new guidelines for cannabis users. Unfortunately their advice is biased against cannabis, and will promote heavier use of the more dangerous drug: alcohol.Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health recently joined the Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction to release new Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, which claim to teach people how to use cannabis safely and responsibly. A few years back, they put out similar guidelines for alcohol use.When we compare their cannabis guidelines with their alcohol guidelines, we see that these health organizations are strangely downplaying the risks of alcohol, while exaggerating the risks of cannabis. The result of this skewed information will be to encourage more people to use alcohol, instead of the safer alternative, cannabis.
Cannabis harms vs alcohol harmsThe cannabis recommendations begin with a lengthy list of all the harms they claim cannabis use can cause. They list off “cognitive, psychomotor and memory impairments; hallucinations and impaired perception; impaired driving and injuries (including fatalities); mental health problems (including psychosis); dependence; pulmonary/bronchial problems; and reproductive problems.”That sounds pretty serious! It seems exaggerated to me, but I guess it’s better to err on the side of caution. Besides, I bet their alcohol guidelines really get into detail on all the health and social harms caused by drinking booze!Umm, no. With alcohol, they just vaguely say “alcohol can harm the way the body and brain develop.” And that’s it! They don’t get into any details about how alcohol use is tied to many kinds of cancer, mental health problems, psychosis, hallucinations, fetal alcohol disorders, liver damage, increased injuries, domestic violence, sexual assault, traffic fatalities, reproductive problems, and a host of other health and social risks.On their cannabis pamphlet, the list of potential harms is repeated a few times. On the alcohol pamphlet, the risks get half a sentence, and that’s it!
Abstinence vs Regular UseLet’s move on to the actual recommendations. Surely they recognize that cannabis use is safer than alcohol? Sadly, it’s quite the opposite.Their first recommendation on cannabis use is “abstinence.” They recommend just saying no and never using cannabis as the only way to protect yourself from any potential harms. According to these “health experts,”even a small amount of cannabis is harmful, and should be avoided entirely.