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Canada was the second country in the world to legalize marijuana (Uruguay was the first). The legalizing act calls it “cannabis” of course. So much more genteel than marijuana, eh? “Cannabis” sounds scientific, well-researched – while marijuana sounds kind of louche and stoned, too close to low-rent, pejorative sobriquets like pot, weed, hash, grass, ganja, reefer et al. 

But it’s still marijuana, and I still call it that, because the people who worked hardest to get it legalized did their best to bypass or suppress the actual scientific research that would have slowed legalization down or even stopped it. 

Since legalization last October, usage has increased, as one might expect. In the first quarter of 2019, there were 646,000 new users, mostly male, mostly over age 45. Many of the new users are doubtless assuming that the government scrupulously and objectively investigated marijuana’s effects on human health, and that they can be confident no harms will come to them with moderate usage. 

That is not the case. Unlike other substances like tobacco and alcohol, where complete transparency on scientific consensus has created hyper-awareness of their inherent perils in the population, marijuana is a substance so swathed in stakeholder propaganda and ideology that the average Canadian, bombarded by claims of pot’s harmlessness and/or therapeutic value, is steeped in ignorance of marijuana’s epidemiologically tracked physical and mental risks.

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The study is among the first to report on voluntary oral THC consumption in animals, a method of consumption that is similar to the way humans take the drug.

In a recently published paper in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at IUPUI and Indiana University Bloomington said they found the mice were less active, and their body temperatures were lower, after consuming the edible THC.

Marijuana edibles can elicit extreme, adverse reactions, Smoker said. Many of the commercially made marijuana-based products have a relatively higher concentration of THC than does marijuana plant material. In some cases, people are unsure how much of a marijuana edible they should eat and end up eating more than they should.

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A researcher from the University of Houston has found that adults who take prescription opioids for severe pain are more likely to have increased anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues if they also use marijuana.

Under the guidance of advisor Michael Zvolensky, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professor of psychology and director of the lab and clinic, Rogers surveyed 450 adults throughout the United States who had experienced moderate to severe pain for more than three months. The study revealed not only elevated anxiety and depression symptoms, but also tobacco, alcohol, cocaine and sedative use among those who added the cannabis, compared with those who used opioids alone. 

No increased pain reduction was reported.

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DOPE DISASTER: Legalising cannabis in the UK would fuel violent crime and turn a new generation into hard drug addicts, warn experts - LEGALISING cannabis will fuel violent conflict in our towns and turn a new generation of people on to hard drugs, experts warn. British drug counsellor Seven Graham has seen the damage that easily available cannabis can cause after moving to Los Angeles, where recreational marijuana sale is legal.

Seven tells The Sun on Sunday: “If you think knife crime is bad now, it could get worse if marijuana is legalised. “Legal cannabis does not get rid of the dealers, it normalises drug use and makes the problem worse. “In America, the black market in weed has boomed…

“Legalisation has done nothing to solve gang violence. You would have to be mad to legalise cannabis in Britain.”

Yet hard drug use rocketed in Holland after marijuana was decriminalised.

Former Met detective chief inspector Mick Neville says: “Cannabis is a gateway drug, and letting shops sell it will tempt more people to smoke it…Some will get addicted and move on to other substances. Others will go straight to hard drugs because cannabis is legal and no longer ‘cool’.

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Conclusions: Results of this study show that the frequency with which women in California use cannabis in the year before and during pregnancy has increased over time, corresponding with increasing acceptance of cannabis use and decreasing perceptions of cannabis-associated harms. Future studies are critically needed to determine whether and how the adverse outcomes of maternal perinatal cannabis use on the health and development of infants and children vary with daily vs less frequent use. (July 2019)

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Academic review-commentary posted 21/7/19 

Unrolling and Unravelling Far-Reaching Implications of Cannabis Use in Pregnancy Study

Albert Stuart Reece, MBBS, FRCS(Ed.), MD | University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University

The recent paper by Young-Wolff and colleagues reports several major findings relating to cannabis use in pregnancy 1. The data are particularly noteworthy as they were compiled in the northern counties of California which is known to be one of the highest areas of cannabis use in the nation, and has also been identified as a hotspot of both autism and gastroschisis 2. Amongst the authors’ major findings are a marked rise in high intensity use of daily use both before and during pregnancy; the striking differentials in cannabis use by age group, race and income which are seven-fold, twenty-fold and four-fold respectively; and the rate of self-admitted cannabis use in pregnancy reaching almost 4% in 2017, a finding particularly notable in terms of these authors’ prior report that 80% of patients falsely under-report cannabis use 3.Together these data indicate that cannabis is used differentially and disproportionately by the young, the poor and racial minorities – the same epidemiological profile as gastroschisis, an anomaly which has been uniformly linked with cannabis use in all seven studies on this issue 4. Indeed, a recent CDC paper documented a threefold increase in gastroschisis in minority teenage mothers a disparity which quickly collapsed with increasing age 5, just as the pregnancy-cannabis use data of Young-Wolff does. Such data leave open the possibility that small groups of high intensity cannabis users might be contributing disproportionately to adverse neurodevelopmental neonatal and other paediatric outcomes; and suggest that integral-cumulative exposure and intensity of exposure may be paramount. Indeed, cannabis was recently linked with autism rates across US states and shown to be significantly higher under cannabis-liberal regimes 6,7.Nor is it just neurodevelopmental outcomes which are at risk. Cardiovascular defects have also been implicated 8 with atrial septal defect rising substantially in Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Canada and Queensland in association with cannabis 4,9 which further implies that our list of cannabis-related sequalae remains incomplete.Interestingly several national surveys show that the historically low rate of cannabis use amongst African-Americans has risen in recent years. Cannabis acts epigenomically and heritably by altering DNA methylation, histone modification and reduction in total histones 10. Most importantly as agreed by both authors 1,11 the situation is readily amenable to education both of our patients and the public in general, and, since cannabis use in pregnancy closely parallels that in the general community, carry wider implications for cannabis legalization worldwide.

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