The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has a well-deserved reputation for its fun-loving and easy-going population. It doesn’t take long for first time visitors to make some truly genuine friendships with locals who will be more than happy to ‘Screech them in’ – a Newfoundland tradition that involves a non-local taking a shot of screech rum, followed by a short recital and the kissing of a cod fish.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that both recreational and medicinal marijuana are both incredibly popular on the islands.
Throughout the province, cannabis consumers have been able to purchase recreational marijuana from 22 retail stores since October 18, 2018 when it was fully legalized. These stores are all run privately, however all of their products are controlled and regulated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).
Even with cannabis now being completely legal, many individuals still decide to seek out a legitimate medical prescription for it. Truth be told, there are many valid reasons why somebody would want to consider going this route (chronic health conditions that can be treated efficiently with medicinal marijuana, being able to purchase more than 30 grams at one time, having a wider variety of cannabis products to choose from, etc.).
Thanks to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) laws, Canadians have been able to purchase medicinal marijuana since 1999, although the most recent revisions to this act (including a name change from the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, or MMPR) went into effect on August 24, 2016.
The ACMPR allows individuals in Newfoundland and Labrador to purchase either a 30-day supply of cannabis or 150 grams – whichever ends up being the lesser amount, provided:
- You have a valid prescription from your family physician (or a physician from a walk-in clinic that you have a history with) to treat one of the many health conditions that medicinal marijuana is known to provide relief for
- You have registered as a patient at one of the authorized and licensed medical dispensaries found throughout the province
As long as you meet the above two criteria, you can freely purchase medicinal marijuana in Newfoundland and Labrador.
However, if you’ve never tried marijuana before (medicinally or otherwise), there are a few important considerations to keep in mind when it comes to health and safety.
Potential Risks of Marijuana and Side Effects
While there has been much research done that proves that medicinal marijuana can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to treating a wide variety of chronic illnesses, it’s still not without its risks. Even when buying recreational cannabis, you’ll find the packaging affixed with numerous health warnings courtesy of Health Canada.
Here are some of the facts when it comes to cannabis consumption that should hopefully help you make a more informed decision on whether or not medicinal marijuana is right for you:
Short-Term Side Effects
- Anxiety, confusion, and sleepiness
- Impaired short-term memory function
- Risk of psychotic episodes such as paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations
- Blood pressure and heart rate disturbances
- Increased risk of accidents that can cause injury or death
Long-Term Side Effects
- Significant impairment to IQ, memory, concentration, and ability to make decisions
- Increased risk of addiction and other mental health problems
- Lung damage (less of a factor for individuals who vape or consume edibles)
While the list of side effects is admittedly a little frightening, it’s equally as important to understand that cannabis can affect people in different ways.
Most people would agree that the vast number of benefits that can be gained from medicinal cannabis consumption far outweigh the potential side effects. However, even with that being said, there are still two big recommendations we would make when it comes to cannabis consumption.
The first is to wait until you are at least 25 years of age or older before you use recreational cannabis or attempt to treat a medical condition with it medicinally. The reason being is that your brain is still developing until that age. While more research needs to be done, there are still a few valid concerns about long-term damage that cannabis can cause to the developing adolescent brain.
Our other recommendation is to be wary of combining cannabis with alcohol consumption, particularly if you’re still a relative novice with cannabis. Mixing the two can greatly increase not only your level of impairment but also your risk of injury or death. Until you’re intimately familiar with how you respond to marijuana, we strongly recommend being very cautious when it comes to combining it with alcohol.
Hopefully now that you’re fully aware of the potential health risks and side effects of cannabis, you feel more ready to make an informed decision on if medicinal marijuana is the right choice for you.