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Canada to Legalize Marijuana By July 2018

Marijuana legalization in the U.S. promises to remain a contentious topic with no clear resolution in sight. On one hand, a growing number of states have moved to decriminalize marijuana. At the same time, the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions remains a staunch opponent of drug legalization and has hinted at a federal level pushback against these state initiatives.

In Canada, the odds of complete legalization are much higher. As CBC reported, the liberal government is set to announce that marijuana will be legalized in July 2018. The federal government in Ottawa will be responsible for regulating the safety of the marijuana supply, but the provinces will set prices and age requirements, and will have oversight of the actual distribution of marijuana. Those interested in homegrown marijuana will be permitted up to four plants per household. 

We've come a long way in the U.S. when it comes to re-normalizing the use of medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is still attempting to suppress it as best they can at every turn. In December 2016, the agency announced cannabidiol (CBD) is being reclassified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, putting it on par with LSD and heroin. This, despite the fact that CBD has no psychoactive component, meaning it cannot get you "high."

There's absolutely no justification in a rational, science-based system for this decision. Ironically, synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) drugs, such as Dronabinol and Marinol, are listed as Schedule 3 drugs.

The DEA's decision on CBD means that patients who live in states where medical marijuana is not permitted may again have to contemplate physically relocating to a state where CBD is legally available, such as Colorado, since it can no longer be shipped across state lines. Prior to the reclassification, CBD was freely available in all U.S. states, and could be easily obtained via mail order.

In closing, another point of note is that when the plant is unheated, meaning raw, it actually does not have THC in it. That's another one of its remarkable properties. The plant actually makes THC acid (THCA) and CBDA. So, when you eat it raw, you get the THCA, not THC, which relieves pain and spasms. THCA is a synergizing agent, but it doesn't have the psychoactivity associated with THC.

This means you can consume marijuana raw and get health benefits without the psychoactivity. A number of doctors have become proponents of using raw cannabinoid as a dietary supplement. The key is to not heat the plant. If it were legal to use recreationally where I live I would grow it and regularly throw it in my smoothies.

Personally, I believe there are many still undiscovered benefits of taking cannabis therapeutically. There are no real downsides; no major adverse effects. Even the psychoactive side effects are only related to the heating of the plant, and even then they're temporary and largely self-limiting. The same cannot be said for opioids, which have overtaken cigarettes in popularity and kill tens of thousands of users each year, even when taken as prescribed.
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