Wednesday, 16 November 2016

CAA & Modern-Day Reefer Madness

**This piece was featured here on the cannabis life network site.

We live within days of denial.  It's everywhere that it shouldn't be, like in the making of regulation.
One topic where evidence appears elusive, is the attempt to prove or disprove that recreational Cannabis legalization will lead to more impaired driving.  Now, you'll never hear me say that driving while under the influence of anything is wise.  But as someone who was a recreational cannabis user who doesn't have a driver's license, I shudder to think that this kind of fear tactic will influence future regulation for me and the millions of others who don't even drive.  What are these deniers trying to gain here?  Is their end-game to slow or stop legalization of this safe plant?

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has decided to be the latest to raise the red flag of fear where this is concerned, and just in time as our legalization task force readies itself to present a committee report at month's end.  Thing is, the CAA may have opened up a can o' worms it didn't expect.  Kind of like when Dr. Lester Grinspoon attempted to prove cannabis was a danger to health and kind of like when Sanjay Gupta looked closer at Cannabis and seizures.  They all realized that the evidence proves them wrong.  In 1971 Grinspoon wrote the much praised "Marihuana Reconsidered", and in 2013 Gupta began the first of three amazing documentaries titled Weed, Weed 2, and Weed 3. And still bureaucrats and governments say, "evidence?  what evidence?".

Out of this can of worms climbs a 2015 study that has been called "the most precisely controlled study of its kind yet conducted".  Organized by the National U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this 20 month, 10,000 participant study found no "significant increased risk of crash involvement from cannabis use".  And another wiggles out, this one from 2010 deemed "the largest population-based study involving nine European Union countries" where the risk for Cannabis impairment was deemed "not statistically significant".

When I speak on this topic, I am all about questions with few answers.  However, it is a fact that new users feel stronger impairment than regular and experienced users.  This is one way that I dare say the CPSO's recommendation to cap thc levels of new users, may help us out.  With thc being the only psychoactive compound in the plant, it goes to reason that controlling its levels will deter impairment from the source.

When Irvin Rosenfeld gets his tin of pre-rolled doobies from the U.S. Federal Government each month, it has no driving impairment warnings on it.  In the documentary "In Pot We Trust", you can see Irven smoking a doobie like a cigarette as he drives down the road.  He doesn't feel impaired, he feels medicated.  The stresses and stiffness, the pain and traumatic memories aren't clawing him when he's medicated.  Similarly I look at patients with Parkinson's, any form of Palsy, Tourettes, or stutters ... when medicated they are most definitely better drivers because they have no tremors or spasms! Anxiety meds are fine to drive on, but CBD only strains impair me?  CBD is an anxiolytic drug that is replacing all kinds of antidepressants and benzos on the daily with few to no negative side effects.

In the end, I pray that we be real about this or we're going to effectively ground thousands of people from driving and living active lives.  Is this what CAA wants?  Don't they profit from insuring drivers?  Fewer drivers means fewer insured subjects and that's bad for their bottom line.  Of course if their motivation is to keep legalization from happening, they can simply take a seat.  The train to Legalizationville has lost its breaks.