CN BC: Cannabis Critique
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jul 2004
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Chilliwack Progress
Author: Robert Freeman
Government-grown medical marijuana was given a thumbs down by two Chilliwack patients who say the strain won't meet the needs of most patients.
Brian and Shannon Carlisle say the sativa strain they received last week from the federal government doesn't even work for the medical conditions listed on Health Canada's criteria to get a medical marijuana licence: multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy.
Mr. Carlisle, who has been using cannabis medically since 1994, says the sativa strain could actually work against those patients using marijuana to control seizures or nausea.
"Sativa is not really a medical grade of marijuana," he says.
Health Canada officials did not return phone calls by press time yesterday.
Other points in the Chilliwack couple's cannabis critique: the pot is ground so fine that patients could inhale particles; it is irradiated to kill mould with unknown side effects to patients; the product contains plant stems which add to the weight and thus the cost to patients.
Ms. Carlisle also wonders why the government doesn't offer the option of receiving the pot in pre-rolled joints for patients who have lost manual dexterity due to their medical condition and would have difficulty rolling the powdery pot.
The Chilliwack couple was among the first to receive licences from Health Canada to grow and possess marijuana for medical reasons. The government-grown marijuana, which claims a 12.2 per cent THC content, cost $770 plus $53.90 GST for five 30-gram packages.
Prairie Plant Systems, which produces medical marijuana on a $5.7-million contract with Health Canada, began shipping a second batch of its product on May 21 after getting bad reviews about the initial harvest.
Now the second harvest is getting thumbs down from users across Canada.
A spokesman for Canadians for Safe Access, a Victoria-based group representing medical users, is warning all patients away from the new pot, at least until it completes new lab tests.
"Nobody should smoke this stuff until we see test results ourselves and until we get an explanation from Health Canada about what happened with the first batch," says Philippe Lucas.
A spokesperson for Health Canada told reporters earlier that criticism of the government-grown pot is based on "personal perception and nothing inherent in the product itself."
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