Taking Care With Cannabis Education

To the editor of the “Taking Care With Cannabis” pamphlet from Vancouver Coastal Health,

Regarding your new pamphlet, “Taking Care With Cannabis”:

It’s better than anything else that has come out of an official source, but in hindsight, I have a concern. Since it is only about risks and does not admit any benefits this material may seem to be less than fully credible to the vast majority of users who have not experienced a downside to cannabis use, and it may also become a tool of prohibitionists and cannabiphobes to help foist stigma upon users where none should exist.

Luckily, there are simple fixes that address this concern in the form of the qualifiers I have included below in bold.


Young brains are still developing during adolescence and early adulthood. Carefully weigh the potential benefits of cannabis use with the potential harms on the developing brain. Despite reports of cannabis helping with brain cell growth, the effects on the developing mind are still unknown. If you choose to use cannabis, consider delaying use until late adolescence or early adulthood, use in moderation, and look for other ways to address emotional and physical needs. Regular and heavy use of cannabis at an early age may impact brain development with lasting consequences.



Despite evidence that cannabis has been used for centuries as an effective medicine for stress and depression, cannabis use affects people differently, and may make existing mental health symptoms– such as depression and anxiety — worse or lead to temporary psychosis, including paranoia and hallucinations. It may also increase the risk of the onset of schizophrenia for those with pre-existing vulnerability. Such effects may be related to strain and dosage or an individual’s biochemistry. If you have a mental health issue, or a personal or family history of schizophrenia, it is important to consider the potential risks of using cannabis. Cannabis is not a good fit for everyone.



Despite regular users reporting it to be a performance enhancer and focus aid, cannabis use may impair psychomotor coordination, reaction time and other cognitive abilities. This impairment may be pronounced in occasional and novice users or those using higher dosages or stronger strains than usual. Avoid driving or engaging in other potentially dangerous activities if impaired by cannabis as it could increase risk of injury or fatality. To be safe, wait at least 3 hours after inhaling or 6 hours after ingesting.


David Malmo-Levine



  1. Anonymous on

    GhEsp Yeah, it is clear now:)

  2. DdC on

    In what will likely be seen as something of a Freudian slip by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said recently in a Mexican news interview that the United States cannot legalize drugs as a means of fighting the black market because “there is just too much money in it.” Feb 22 2011

    Why can’t the US legalize drugs?
    There’s ‘too much money in it, ~ Hillary Clinton

    Detroiters who tried for two years to get a proposal on Detroit ballots that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana hit a roadblock tonight when the city’s law department appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court to disqualify the measure.

    Forfeiture $quads

    US to increase drugs war spending

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged more funding to fight drug cartels in Central America. Mrs Clinton said funding for the fight against transnational organised crime in the region would be increased from $260m in 2010 to almost $300m this year.

    The Obama Admin’s Anti-Marijuana Manifesto

    Is The DEA Legalizing THC? or Why We Can’t Grow
    Feds grow it, roll it, pack it, and ship it. Feds have patents. X Dept Dawg Dung Czar Grubbs Barthwell and Big Pharma Bayer are set to distribute their sublingual spray, no doubt with the same Feds pot. We the Sheople can go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

    US or Canada to increase drugs war spending means…
    Dung Worrier Corporations and Cops to increase drug war profits and bloated budgets. Small towns getting Federal money for SWAT tanks.
    One trillion spent means one trillion into someone’s pockets…
    Their end of perpetuation, justifies their means. Lies win elections, only election winners get to legislate. Legislation brings profits fighting police actions. With Neocons it’s always selling “treatments” and prevent cures or prevention that would end the profits. Treating crime or disease or war always pays much more than preventing or curing profits. They profit on the misery of their own countrymen and women. I call that a traitor. They have no allegiance outside of the G-20 1%. The drug war is just another cold war to profit on until a hot war can be mustered or fabricated in most cases. Sick sick sick, damn sick. Spraying poisons on the cotton crops that aren’t required for Hemp loses them money in spite of health risk of the poisons. Or Mid Eastern OPEC crud oil. Or nukes etc. Make em sick then sell em pills while outlawing competition. Can we use the “F” word yet? Fascism.

    DAREyl SWAT Gates LAPDog Perversions

    SWAT (special weapons and tactics)
    The first SWAT team was established by inspector Daryl Gates in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1968.

    Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as DARE,
    Founded by Daryl F. Gates in 1983.

    “Casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”
    – Daryl DARE Gates – Former LAPD Chief

    Harper ain’t no John Wayne.jpg

    Another drug epidemic. Think of the children!
    From the wonderful folks at The Onion…

    Nation’s Moms Invent New Recreational Drug To Worry About

    DENVER—A new illicit drug that is incredibly cheap, highly addictive, and extremely easy to produce is appearing in school yards across the country, the fevered imaginations of the nation’s mothers who need something to fret over confirmed today.

    The totally contrived drug that in no way exists in any objective reality and is only real in the minds of mothers is known by its street name, “scramp,” and according to moms who previously did not have enough actual things to worry about, a batch can be made from everyday household supplies such as sugar, window cleaner, and petroleum jelly.

    Wait ’til they hear about Dihydrogen Monoxide.

    Think of the message being sent to the kids?

  3. Psychedelicious on

    Cool dude, way to go. Btw that snoop dogg drizzle joke was hilarious

  4. Jack Draak on

    Thanks for your efforts David. We need more people to stand-up and speak the truth! Get out there people – accepting the status quo is the quickest way to enslave yourself.

  5. Bud Grinder on

    David, you can’t talk sense to these people. They’re from the government and they’re not here to help you or anyone else except themselves and their corrupt political masters. They have to sing the party line in order to keep their mercenary snouts buried in the public trough.

    You’ll never turn their vile nonsense around and get them to speak the truth. They’re not in the truth business. That isn’t going to fill their rice bowls.

  6. Bud Grinder on

    David, you can’t talk sense to these people. They’re from the government and they’re not here to help you or anyone else except themselves and their corrupt political masters. They have to sing the party line in order to keep their mercenary snouts buried in the public trough.

    You’ll never turn their vile nonsense around and get them to speak the truth. They’re not in the truth business. That isn’t going to fill their rice bowls.

  7. DML on

    I made all these suggestions to the editors of the pamphlet prior to it’s publication and I was told that my suggestions would not be used. The reason given was that it wasn’t in your mandate to discuss beneficial use, only abuse.

    The studies relied upon to justify this pamphlet are faulty. The studies in question do not differentiate between treatment and forced treatment, or proper use and abusive use, and repeat many of the myths which have been discredited elsewhere. Nobody should take my word for it – everyone should read them themselves and decide for themselves:







  8. MHO Vancouver on

    Thanks very much for your suggestions. TCWC was the result of extensive work by recognized experts in the field of psychoactive substance use and reflects the best evidence available at this time. It tries to neither encourage nor discourage use. As more evidence (as opposed to anecdote)on cannabis use becomes available, we hope to update these harm reduction messages with more certainties and less ‘mays’.