Don't Delay Canadians' Access To Safe, Predictable Doses Of Cannabis

We stand at the precipice of a monumental change in Canada; one that touches each corner of our society from the justice system, to job creation, to the expansion of agriculture. Most importantly, however, is the potential impact on the well-being of Canadians and the tools we make available to them.

Data supporting the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is encouraging an increasing number of people to turn to cannabis to alleviate common ailments such as insomnia, anxiety and pain. Data have shown the plant’s potential to reduce opiate-related overdoses, a major epidemic not just in America, but here at home as well. Bill C-45, legislation which proposes to legalize cannabis across Canada, is progressive and thorough, and I applaud the government for its efforts to date.

However, in the bill’s current form, cannabis’ most critical tool — dose — will likely not be immediately available. To use cannabis as a tool for wellness, dose is paramount.

When C-45 comes to fruition and cannabis becomes legal, we can assume many first-time users will turn to the plant as an alternative tool to manage their wellness. This makes conversations around dose imperative. Cannabis has hundreds of different chemical compounds, including cannabinoids, which all affect a wide range of processes in the human body. Products with too much THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can have adverse effects and unintended consequences. However, the right dose, including the right balance of THC and CBD, two of the active ingredients in the plant, can help alleviate suffering from a variety of symptoms and bring about a greater sense of well-being.

Proper dosage of cannabis is complicated. You need to control and standardize both the active compounds in cannabis as well as the volume delivered. Concentrates and vaporizers are a proven way to help control dosing — and under the current legislation, it could be over 365 days before they are made available to cannabis consumers in this country.

There is a reason the adage “too much of a good thing” exists. Imagine access to prescription medication without proper understanding of how much you should take, or a controlled mechanism such as a pill in which to consume it. Cannabis without standardized dosage or tools to deliver safe, predictable results like dose-controlled vaporizers could put Canadians at risk.

I am incredibly proud to appear before the Senate to speak on behalf of Canadians to advocate for safe, consistent dose-controlled cannabis products. I have heard first-hand testimonies from people who have benefited from dose-controlled access to cannabis in California — from veterans suffering from PTSD to mothers recovering from postpartum depression.

As a Canadian, I want to ensure that adults in this country have access to the safest and most targeted methods to achieving wellness through cannabis as soon as Bill C-45 comes into effect. It is most beneficial to the future of cannabis legalization to include regulations for concentrates and vaporizers with the initial passing, rather than in a future round of amendments. Each day we wait, we risk the illicit market providing their own options and continuing to supply Canadians with cannabis product without standard dosages.

There is incredible potential to provide safe and effective solutions to help Canadians manage their well-being, as long as the government is willing to include vaporizers and concentrates under this bill. This will pave the way for dose-controlled cannabis in Canada. The whole world is watching; this is our chance to get this right from day one.