Marijuana is a dangerous drug

In the Dec. 30 edition of your paper, an article by Jeff Nagel, “Health officers back legal pot,” reports the Health Officers Council ...

In the Dec. 30 edition of your paper, an article by Jeff Nagel, “Health officers back legal pot,” reports the Health Officers Council of B.C. “has joined a growing coalition of policy leaders urging the legalization and taxation of marijuana.”

Tobacco has been controlled/legal for many years. The use of tobacco by youth continued to increase until millions of dollars were spent educating the public of the harm which was being caused. How many deaths have been caused by the use of tobacco?

Marijuana is more dangerous than tobacco. Current research tells us there is four times the amount of tar in a marijuana cigarette as a tobacco cigarette. A major cancer-causing chemical, benzo(a)pyrene, is present in greater quantities in marijuana than in cigarettes. We know that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer.

Research tells us that young people that use drugs are more likely to engage in other high-risk behaviours. In addition, the risk of heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking marijuana. A person who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as much tar and cancer-causing chemicals into their lungs as someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes every day.

Smoking marijuana weakens the immune system, raises the risk of lung infections, and is linked with depression, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia. There is potential for marijuana smoking during pregnancy to damage the fetal brain.

I would ask the health officers: in trying to save a few lives in the criminal element, how many youth would be at risk by smoking a “legal product” – it’s legal, it must be safe?

Let’s give our head a shake and think again! Where is Health Canada?

Eric Myrholm