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Marijuana: 'A major threat to public health, and society'

In 1923 it became illegal for Canadians to possess marijuana. But the laws have always been flouted, by recreational users who just want to get high, and by medicinal users seeking relief from pain and illness. From cannabis cafés to courtrooms, doctors and patients, rabble-rousers and senior statesmen have engaged in a passionate debate over marijuana possession. But the laws have endured.

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Many people use marijuana, but that doesn't mean it's harmless. As more research is conducted, scientists find disturbing side effects of prolonged use: lung damage, impotence, psychological problems, cerebral atrophy. Dr. Charles Messer is a psychiatrist and crusader against what he calls "the pot gospel" and "the crap attitudes of suggestible kids." He's sounding the alarm, and has plenty of science to back it up. And he believes that anyone who disagrees with him...must be on drugs.
Health Canada says the signs of chronic, heavy marijuana use may include:
• decreased motivation and interest
• difficulties with memory and concentration
• respiratory system damage from smoking
• developmental delays in children whose mothers used drugs heavily during pregnancy

• Some of the mental difficulties associated with marijuana use clear up when heavy use stops, but research suggests there is a risk of permanent mental damage from prolonged use.

• Smoking a marijuana joint deposits four times as much tar in the respiratory tract as smoking a comparable amount of tobacco.

• Here is a less vitriolic analysis of the dangers of marijuana from the Ontario Addiction Research Foundation.
Medium: Television
Program: Today From...
Broadcast Date: April 24, 1980
Host: Kris Purdy
Reporter: Sherv Schragge
Duration: 12:00

Last updated: November 18, 2014

Page consulted on November 18, 2014

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