Are Cannabis Death Stats No Longer Zero?

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Photo: Bryan Ochalla

Statistics have a tendency of separating us from the magnitude of death. The news today tells us many stories about deaths from all around this little blue planet. But two particular deaths are what this blog post is about.

It’s a small number … 2. But the sterility of the statistic hides the fact that you could add at least a few zeros to that 2 when describing the people affected by those two deaths. It’s sometimes up to us, the society to remember each and every soul connected to the numeric. If only in our thoughts. Thoughts are energy.

So I and every other Cannabis lover, supporter, and recommender await the shit storm of blame that’s undoubtedly on its way down the media pipe. The blame will be directed at the Cannabis plant. It will be reiterated ad nauseam that it’s so much stronger these days than it used to be. Or it’s never really been safe, and perhaps the reefer madness is real — yes, I expect to hear the archaic and racist theme of that movie spoken tomorrow by some Magpie like a Palin, a Bachmann, or a Grace. Two deaths in Colorado have been blamed on the Cannabis edible. My sincerest condolences to their loved ones.

The “pot brownie” segment on the average tv show has had its share of takes in the past year or so to brainwash us all to what it’s like to eat a Cannabis laced edible. And every single TV show exaggerates or outright lies about the effects, side effects, duration, and aftermath of the ingestion. For ratings of course. Minutes go by after eating that medible and they’re not giggling like so-and-so on tv! Why not? It took the fictional tv characters only moments to feel the effects. It’s truly no wonder at all that kids, teens, and adults are feeling sick upon eating the infamous pot brownie. How the hell is the average person supposed to know anything real about the topic? Things like how much to eat? How long it will take? How high will you get? Should you eat more? How soon? “Uh-oh … I think I ate too much!” All of these questions come after the making of the brownie! How was the herb added to the brownie? Was the plant material filtered out? How well? Chlorophyll can make some sensitive stomachs hit eject. How much Cannabis was used? What kind? How was it grown? So many questions!!! And the answers are everywhere, the truth few and far between.

For me, the blame has not moved from where it points every time someone has a bad ganja experience. I don’t blame the person for eating the brownie. Or the person for making the brownie. I don’t even blame the person who brought the brownie to the party. I blame prohibition for it all.

Prohibition is the lock that keeps the open conversation and understanding about Cannabis edibles out of reach of most of us. Prohibition is like duct tape over our mouths. Prohibition is the hand holding our words in, keeping us fearfully silent to even whisper about where, how much, and how. Edibles are nothing like smoking, so too many people eat a little chunk more way too soon. And then again in too short a time. They don’t feel high so they eat more. Edibles are like any other medicine; it’s all about dosing. Not that we’d know that. We learn about the effects from television after all.

If the leaders of our countries would acknowledge Cannabis as more than just a societal inconvenience or a fleeting fad, they’d surely do a better job of educating the masses on the truth. Dissidence is everywhere these days. People don’t trust their government! And many of those disgruntled citizens  — whatever their country — are pissed to have been lied to about this plant.

Cannabis talk is still taboo in mainstream media. My small city newspaper, like many others, only ever reports on changes in “Marijuana regulation” or report the local “Marijuana busts”. Never have I read in any Ontario newspaper about this plant and read it called its proper name: Cannabis Indica or Cannabis Sativa. That matters to me. The word ‘Marijuana’ is a derogatory, racist, and historically misleading slang. I’ve never read about Cannabis edibles and how they kill pain and stiffness, though there are plenty of readers using them for that.

Our governments are kind enough to allow us to buy all kinds of alcohol. Just today I read the LCBO motto: “Please Drink Responsibly.” That in itself is mildly infuriating, though familiar so it doesn’t sting quite as much. But how’s a person supposed to do anything responsibly if they’ve never been told? Your bartender knows how many drinks you should consume on average per hour, but do you?

Hey leaders, how about you start GOVERNING RESPONSIBLY? Seriously! Recreational substances are not going away. You cannot control personal choice; you can only teach personal responsibility through real education and guidance. We’re not idiots. Tobacco kills 15 million of us every single year! And when your citizens mix Tobacco and Cannabis, the lung damage is severe. Cannabinoids open up the Alveoli, and the tobacco tar, nicotine, and 400+ man-made chemicals goes right into the deepest parts of your lungs — the things that keep you alive. Add alcohol into the mix, and sickness will be felt by all but the very experienced.

Properly prepared and ingested Cannabis edibles relax the body. Physical exertion can become increasingly less and less of a priority depending on the dose. The couch-lock becomes realized. And this is absolutely bliss for many of the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. Some take a pill; others take a plant. You wouldn’t leave your Oxycontin out for a child to consume would you? They look like Skittles. What about your Fentanyl patch? They look like tooth whitening strips. And finally, in this same vein, you should never leave your Cannabis edible around for children to consume. If you have children, don’t buy Cannabis confections that look anything like what your kid sees as a treat.

Whether taken medicinally or taken in recreation, Cannabis laced edibles are to be eaten, stored, and supplied responsibly.