Preparing for Pot: Unanswered questions remain around legalizing marijuana


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  1. Ian Mitchell

    This article lacks some basic fact checking and presents a quite biased picture of the literature.
    First, there is no good evidence that blood THC levels can be used to measure intoxication. AAA produced a report stating “Legal limits, also known as per se limits, for marijuana and driving are arbitrary and unsupported by science.”
    Second, you fail to mention that the MADD data on drug prevalence during driving indicates only the presence of the drug, but does not imply impairment, or any wrong doing.
    Third, you mention that a child died and suggest that this was from poisoning from marijuana. The article that you cite mentions that this child arrived in cardiopulmonary arrest from myocarditis and happened to have a positive urine test for THC. Myocarditis was the cause of death, rather than marijuana overdose, which your article obfuscates. A recent article from the CJEM on pediatric marijuana overdoses (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27780499) mentions “There have been no reported deaths in young children from marijuana exposure.”
    Fourth, similarly Culbert mentions research that suggests chronic marijuana ingestion in adolescents (as not recommended by ANYONE) may lead to a decrease in IQ. However, Cuthbert fails to mention the conflicting research that shows these findings are more linked to socioeconomic circumstances. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-cannabis-idUSBRE90M14C20130123
    Fifth, somehow in all this, you neglected Rees and Anderson’s study that showed a DECREASE in the motor vehicle fatality rate in US states that have introduced medical marijuana laws. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-11/todays-study-debate-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-fatalities

    Other, more reliable sources that you may want to check for information about driving and marijuana
    http://www.bcmj.org/letters/perspectives-marijuana-motorists
    http://www.bcmj.org/council-health-promotion/cannabis-and-motor-vehicle-crashes
    https://news.lift.co/hotboxing-minivan-new-face-drugged-driving/
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/don-t-hold-your-breath-for-a-marijuana-breathalyzer-test/
    http://www.bcmj.org/council-health-promotion/driving-stoned-marijuana-legalization-and-drug-impaired-driving

    • Rebecca Saah

      Thanks for this, Ian. So much of the debate centres on the potential for harm by cherry-picking from studies and news reports. The pediatric poisoning issue is one of many examples in this domain that irks me to no end, as it plays to public panic around “harms to innocent children.”

  2. David Milne

    Why was Health Canada not required to test legal medical marijuana for toxic chemicals before legalization a few years ago? A survey by a major newspaper found heavy contamination from toxic fungicides but the government had not bothered to test even the “approved” supplier’s pot. What are they planning to do when pot becomes much more widely available?

  3. Mark

    Please fact check the article. There have BEEN NO confirmed deaths directly attributed to marijuana in children in Colorado. Please talk to someone in the field of Medicine/Pharmacy/Toxicology. Please do not spread half-truths or misconceptions as it limits the ability to have an open honest discussion about this.

    To overdose on a substance, be it Aspirin, Morphine, nicotine, alcohol, SUGAR, SALT (yes eating way too much can kill you) or marijuana, I recommend the authors try to review the LD 50 of that substance or drug. Lethal dose (LD50) is the amount of an ingested substance that kills 50 percent of a test sample. It is expressed in mg/kg usually. Morphine has a very low LD50 meaning even taking slightly more the recommended dose like 40 times can kill you. Marijuana is in the 20,000 to 40,000 range.

    Some reading material for anyone interested.
    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234/
    2. https://www.oregon.gov/pharmacy/Imports/Marijuana/StaffReview/ReschedulingCannabis-NOTES_3-10.pdf
    3. http://www.westword.com/news/dear-stoner-how-much-thc-equals-a-lethal-dose-5124769

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