marijuana health and safety

The recreational use of marijuana, has, within the last year, been made legal in the US states of Colorado and Washington. Amendment 64 was passed by voters, which was the measure to seek the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults. This will allow adults to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from speciality marijuana dispensaries and grow up to six plants in their homes. However, marijuana still remains illegal under federal law in the US. This means that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a federal agency, isn’t involved in monitoring the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana in any format. In the US states, where it is now legal under state law,  it is legal to smoke it in the privacy of one’s home and personal stash is restricted, however, selling it without a license is not. Even though this still remains a federal offence, proponents don’t foresee federal agents interfering in states that have legalized marijuana.

It is up to State officials to determine the health and safety protocols for the production and sale of marijuana and issue licenses for its sale. Under state law there is no real way to address the public health issues that may stem during the production of marijuana. Safety risks in production range from impurities in the marijuana to moulds and pesticide residues. Moulds may develop due to poor air quality associated with the cultivation of marijuana plants in homes. There is currently a laboratory in Colorado that tests for medical cannabis. They test samples for potency and for the presence of solvents. It has been stated that E. Coli and Salmonella has be found in the cannabis flowers. Marijuana is susceptible to pests and to mould.

New standards would have to be devised, not only to detect impurities, but also to confirm the strength of the active ingredients and representation of such on labels. The assurance of regulation such as this may make the market for this product more attractive. This may even help marijuana products compete better with the medical market, if it is backed by stringent quality control measures and is known not to contain contaminants harmful to health. Regulators face the huge task of making sure pot products are not a hazard to public health. There is currently no quality control tests in the production of marijuana, and, no protocol for recalling contaminated pot products.

A report just before the legalization of marijuana, from the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP), had cited a public health and safety concern involved with the production and distribution of marijuana. These included considering a safe way of distributing dried marihuana to individuals who use it for medical purposes. It has been suggested that it could be distributed through pharmacies, as these premises have experience with distributing therapeutic products. As well as the presence of microbes and mould, there may be electrical fire hazards, stemming from the cultivation of marijuana in homes.

Marijuana is a Class B drug. Effects on the user include periods of relaxation and heightening of the senses. Downsides include impaired co-ordination and increased risk of accidents. Prolonged use can also lead to anxiety and depression. There has been proven positive effects on the use of cannibas in medical use but a balanced view should always be sought and the risks acknowledged.


Sources   the huffington post   HSE   drug free   CNBC   NBC news   hc-sc

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