I want a refund on this cannabis!
September 16, 2003 12:48 AM   Subscribe

Marijuana meets Socialism. Health Canada's government-approved marijuana is apparently not up to snuff, acording to it's first 'patients'. [more inside]
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (48 comments total)
"It's totally unsuitable for human consumption, it gave me a slight buzziness for about three to five minutes, and that was it. I got no other effect from it." said Jim Wakeford, 58, an AIDS patient in Gibsons, B.C.

Barrie Dalley, an AIDS patient in Toronto added "I threw up, it made me nauseous because I had to use so much of it. It was so weak in potency that I really threw up."

Now both men want a refund ($150 + taxes) for their "bad pot"

Lab tests found that the Health Canada cannabis only contains ~3% THC, not the 10.2% "advertised" (if that is the right word for a medical treatment)
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:49 AM on September 16, 2003

well I guess that'll teach those commie "hepcats" a lesson.
posted by condour75 at 12:58 AM on September 16, 2003

Actually I gotta say, that's a pretty funny story. What's the deal? According to Half-Baked, American institutional supplies are rather excellent. And the movies never lie.
posted by condour75 at 1:06 AM on September 16, 2003

I have to say, I feel for these guys' pain to be sure, but how the hell can one be permanently unemployable like most of them are and still afford to smoke more pot in a week than most smokers consume in a year?

Though I think this is excellent proof that marijuana isn't addictive, if one tends to get more discriminating in one's tastes as one consumes more and more, unlike alcohol for example.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:27 AM on September 16, 2003

Boy, I sure am glad the poster was 'thoughtful' enough use all those 'scare quotes' to 'help' me understand this 'the right way'. I wish he'd help me figure out if this 'socialism' is 'bad' too, though. That's not quite 'clear'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:46 AM on September 16, 2003

but what does "socialism" have to do with canada? they're a parliamentary democracy.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:14 AM on September 16, 2003

Yes Steve_at_Linwood, please elaborate. Is Canada a socialist country because we provide medicine to sick people?

Or perhaps because even the very poor are given medical treatment for free?

Beware our evil, socialist ways America. They could be contagious. . .
posted by pooligan at 5:20 AM on September 16, 2003

Oh, c'mon guys. His tongue is so far in his cheek it's cutting him a new mouth.

@ Linnwood: great post -- I didn't think anything could make me laugh this early in the morning, but you just proved me wrong.
posted by Ptrin at 5:40 AM on September 16, 2003

Perhaps he means that because the health care system is socialised they are forced to smoke low grade skunk. In a privatised health system they could go to whichever provider was distributing the better quality dagga.
posted by PenDevil at 5:51 AM on September 16, 2003

I love the analogy:

Hey, the Canadian government is not trying to police every aspect of a citizens life....what a bunch of commies!
posted by CrazyJub at 5:53 AM on September 16, 2003

"Costs are rising quickly, and benefits that used to be provided by employers now must be provided by workers themselves, including health insurance and retirement," says Christian Weller, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
The average employee contribution toward health insurance premiums is $2,412 for family coverage this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That's a 13% increase over 2002."

Middle class barely treads water

Of the more than one million people who filed for bankruptcy in the United States last year, more than half of them did so at least in part because they were unable to cope with medical bills or other financial consequences of injury or illness, according to a forthcoming study of U.S. bankruptcy filings, The Washington Post reported today. The study, conducted by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues, Teresa Sullivan, dean of graduate studies at the University of Texas, and lawyer Melissa B. Jacoby, is a result of surveyed bankruptcy filers in eight judicial circuits around the country, covering 18 percent of all filers, and the results indicate that 326,441 bankruptcies last year were related to an illness or injury in the family, and another 267,575 filers had substantial medical bills in addition to their other reasons for filing. "I thought we would be looking at a wholly uninsured group of Americans, and we're not," Warren said. "These data suggest that under-insurance is a far bigger problem for middle-class families, under-insurance in the sense that it's not enough to cover catastrophic medical costs, or it doesn’t cover all the financial implications" of illness. These families are "just one serious illness away from financial collapse," she said. "What a scary way to think about America."
Warren served as adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission

American Bankruptcy Institute, April 2000

THE AMERICAN BANKRUPTCY INSTITUTE said Monday that personal bankruptcy filings totaled 1,613,097 — an all-time high for any 12-month period. The figure was up 10 percent from the 1,466,105 cases filed in the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2002.
The institute, which is based in Alexandria, Va., is an association of bankruptcy judges, lawyers and experts. It analyzes bankruptcy data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Associated Press, August 18, 2003
posted by matteo at 6:05 AM on September 16, 2003

You can download the "Medical Problems and Bankruptcy Filings"
Warren/Sullivan/Jacoby 2000 study here
posted by matteo at 6:08 AM on September 16, 2003

and for those unwilling to read all 26, admittedly scary .pdf pages of that study, I suggest Chris Rock "Robitussin" routine (from "Bigger and Blacker") -- about poor black families (safe from the evils of socialized health care) using Robitussin for every kind of illness, from broken ankles to cancer ("Scrape your knee? Rub some Robitussin in there. Sprain your ankle? Soak a towel in some 'tussin and wrap it around your ankle...")

posted by matteo at 6:27 AM on September 16, 2003

Matteo, I'm afraid I don't understand what this has to do with Marijuana.
posted by angry modem at 6:30 AM on September 16, 2003

"If we worried about all of this we'd be physically sick," Terry says. "We just have to trust in God to help us."

-It is a sad indictment on modern day america that the honest hard working people have nothing more tangible than god to turn to.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:35 AM on September 16, 2003

But then that has flock all to do with married-joanna.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:52 AM on September 16, 2003

I think this story is hilarious. But I'd cut Health Canada some slack. They've just launched their cannabis services and will likely soon learn to produce some better quality stuff. Or Health Minister Anne McClellan could just bake everyone some pot brownies to make nice.

Although I don't understand why these people don't just grow their own - the Canadian government made BOTH possession and growing one's own supply legal for those registered as medically in need of it. It would be way cheaper, and as Space Coyote pointed out, many of them would be unemployable. Unless they have reserources of their own or families in a position to support them, they'd be living on long-term disability pensions of $900/month.
posted by orange swan at 6:53 AM on September 16, 2003

Lab tests found that the Health Canada cannabis only contains ~3% THC, not the 10.2% "advertised" (if that is the right word for a medical treatment)

Yeah, I know what you mean. You never see advertisements for medical treatments on American television. The commercials for Zoloft, Viagra, Allegra, Prevachol, Lipitor, Prozac, Singulair, Claritin, Zyrtec, Prilosec, Nexxium, Zocor, and Lipitor were obviously hallucinations brought on by our superior American free-enterprise pot.

Dirty, dirty, socialists.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:54 AM on September 16, 2003

not up to snuff, acording to it's first 'patients'

OK, I get the two single quotes around the word "patients," but how come there's only one of 'em in "its"? Very confusing. Steeeeeve? What've you been smoking? Obviously not very high grade.
posted by soyjoy at 7:25 AM on September 16, 2003

"....Although I don't understand why these people don't just grow their own - the Canadian government made BOTH possession and growing one's own supply legal for those registered as medically in need of it. It would be way cheaper." - There you go. Pot makes you lazy!

We US 'Military/industrial complex socialists' have a thing or to teach you Canadian 'Health care socialists'. Like: your abundant fresh water resources are very important for our national security (to paraphrase GW Bush).
posted by troutfishing at 7:29 AM on September 16, 2003

Maybe they're keeping the good stuff for themselves.
posted by carter at 7:33 AM on September 16, 2003

Standard-grade weed is around 3-3.5% THC. Generally you have to be in the realms of skunk/hybrid-grades before you are getting 10%.
posted by i_cola at 7:34 AM on September 16, 2003

Canada wrestles "Brown Frown" title from Mexico.
posted by samuelad at 7:45 AM on September 16, 2003

There was an article in the Globe and Mail a couple of months ago (can't find it, sorry), saying how the medicinal stuff was too strong, and people were getting too high off it. Apparently they've diluted it somewhat since then...
posted by krunk at 7:55 AM on September 16, 2003

Inhalation Marijuana as an Antiemetic for Cancer Chemotherapy
Vincent Vinciguerra, MD; Terry Moore, MSW; Eileen Brennan, RN
ABSTRACT. A prospective pilot study of the use, of Inhalation marijuana as an antiemetic for cancer chemotherapy was conducted. Fifty-six patients who had no Improvement with standard antiemetic agents were treated and 78% demonstrated a positive response to marijuana. Younger age and prior marijuana exposure were factors that predicted response to treatment. (...)
This preliminary trial suggests the usefulness of Inhalation marijuana as an antiemetic agent...
(New York State Journal of Medicine, October 1988; 88: 525 - 527)

A random-sample anonymous survey of the members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was conducted in the spring of 1990 measuring the attitudes and experiences of American oncologists concerning the antiemetic use of marijuana in cancer chemotherapy patients. (...)
More than 44% of the respondents report recommending the (illegal) use of marijuana for the control of emesis to at least one cancer chemotherapy patient. Almost half (48%) would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were legal. As a group, respondents considered (smoked) marijuana to be somewhat more effective than the legally available (oral) synthetic THC (Marinol) and roughly as safe. Of the respondents who expressed an opinion, a majority (54%) thought marijuana should be available by prescription.

Marijuana as anti-emetic medicine: A Survey of Oncologists' Experiences and Attitudes Doblin, Richard, et al, "Marijuana as Antiemetic Medicine: A Survey of Oncologists' Experiences and Attitudes." Journal of Clinical Oncology. 1991; 9(7): pp. 1314-1319.

Dronabinol is a synthetic version of substance called THC. THC is the active ingredient in Marijuana. It produces a high or stoned feeling but also stimulates appetite and soothes nausea. Dronabinol was approved by the government in 1985 for treating the nausea produced by chemotherapy in cancer patients. In 1992 it was approved for prescription to people with AIDS to stimulate appetite and combat weight loss.

posted by matteo at 7:58 AM on September 16, 2003

You can also drop the scare quotes off of patients Stevie - these people have real diseases that would have even a hardass like you clamoring for relief.
posted by holycola at 8:38 AM on September 16, 2003

The obvious suspicion is that the Canadian authorities in charge of delivering the product are politically biased against the whole decision to supply it, are reluctant to honestly do their jobs, and are therefore intentionally sabotaging the effort.

But maybe I'm being paranoid.

Seriously, matteo's mention if dronabinol is interesting, but not quite to the point. The main reason marijuana is superior medicine is that patients can "titrate" it, that is consume just enough, very quickly, to produce the desired effects. Can't do that with a dronabinol pill that takes an hour to hit, and then you can't stop the overwhelming effects. Not to mention that there are other cannabinoids in marijuana that supplement and synergize with THC for a better overall effect.

The best solution is an electric vaporizer, which doesn't burn the stuff, but heats it so you get the volatile oils without the products of combustion. In theory, you could do this with dronabinol as well as trash-pot from the government.
posted by reality at 8:41 AM on September 16, 2003

"I'm going over to Kanada to get hopped up on that commie muggles"

you mean marinol matteo? of course you do.

that stuff is whack. it is better for the patient to have a good and natural 15% THC....and im looking into this vaporizer method...interesting.
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 AM on September 16, 2003

Hey, steve might be a little doctrinaire, but as an American I feel no need to hide the fact that the free market really does drive weed innovation. It is quite an old story, really. I think de Tokeville said something about that.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:21 AM on September 16, 2003


marinol is the commercial name of dronabinol. reality's hit the jackpot, by the way -- patients can't really titrate dronabinol.
also did you guys know that the US government produces very small amounts of marijuana for medical/research use in, of all places, Mississippi?

on preview: "Tokeville" is genius
posted by matteo at 9:22 AM on September 16, 2003


Yep. Entirely predictable. The right grumbling semi-grammatically about "socialism" and "drugs"....all in the very same breath.

It's really odd how these intellectually dishonest Drudge Reportz (and those who breathlessly follow them) never seem to mention far worse drugs, far worse government support-cum-"socialism", and the heartbreak of actual, irrefutable, pitiable addicts :

An unprecedented flood of money from the federal government and cigarette makers is giving a a big boost to the incomes of Tar Heel tobacco growers and quota owners.

About $465 million is expected to be paid out this year from private and public money, nearly half what the state's most profitable crop might bring in a typical season. The money isn't tied to crop production because it is intended to ease the losses growers and quota owners -- those controlling permits to grow and sell tobacco -- have had in recent years.

Twenty-six thousand Texans will die this year from smoking-related illnesses. That's a fact that seems lost on Governor George W. Bush, whose presidential bid is being greatly assisted by money and manpower intimately associated with the tobacco industry. And if Bush's record in Texas is any indication, should he make it to the White House the industry can feel certain that it will have a friend in the Oval Office.

But Bush's worries about big government apparently don't include any concern about the federal tobacco price-support program, since a few weeks earlier the Texas Governor gave it his blessing.

Money, in the form of campaign contributions to Bush's $60 million war chest, is part of the story, beginning with the $1,000 check given to Bush in June by Geoffrey Bible, president and CEO of Philip Morris. Even more important, the tobacco industry is poised once again to provide the Republican Party with millions of dollars in unregulated "soft" money, offering a significant boost to the Bush 2000 drive. But Bush's tobacco ties reach far deeper than money; they go to the very heart of his campaign organization--a story that so far has been largely ignored in the national media's bubbly coverage of W.'s campaign.

As a Republican, I find it hard to understand why the Republican Party has been so opposed to comprehensive tobacco legislation.
They say that they are against drugs, but tobacco contains a dangerous addictive drug, perhaps the most addictive of them all, and that is also a gateway drug to the others that give them so much concern.
They claim to be pro-life. Tobacco causes spontaneous abortion, prematurity and low birth weight. In addition to the 430,700 tobacco-related deaths last year, we know that that year also probably saw between tens of thousands and 100,000 newborn babies die before birth. New data also shows that permanent fetal brain damage and disabilities are caused by tobacco, such as disabilities such as attention deficit syndrome, hyperactivity and so on.
The GOP says it is for protecting children. But they must not think that preventing the addiction of children to a life of bondage to tobacco and premature death comes under the category of child protection.
And finally, Republicans are, of course, pro-family. And yet nearly half a million families are disrupted every year by a tobacco-related death alone. And moreover, many times that number are disrupted by tobacco-related illness and disabilities.
Tobacco has grown without control in this country because of a network of special legislative exceptions and protections. The tobacco industry draws on the energy of society, forcing taxpayers to pay for its medical and social costs. The tobacco industry has acted in secrecy, corrupting the normal ways of doing business. After many years of deception, it has finally been recognized by the illnesses that it causes. And the tobacco industry has metastasized to every corner of the globe, using practices even more reprehensible than those that are used in America.

So "Health Canada's government-approved marijuana is apparently not up to snuff?"

Maybe.....but one thing IS certain. The constant hypocrisy and cowardice in the face of greed manifested again and again by those on the right seem as "up to snuff" as ever.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:00 PM on September 16, 2003

It took you long enough. What, were you busy elsewhere?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:58 PM on September 16, 2003

foldy, you just got told!
posted by mcsweetie at 2:53 PM on September 16, 2003

yeah, foldy, Linnwood just kicked your ass...

btw Steve, we've showered your threads with links showing how the Canadian health care system at least doesn't bankrupt hundreds of thousands of people who get sick and go broke because they can't pay hospital bills, that many doctors think that joints can deliver THC in a much more efficient way than synthetic legal (and very expensive) products, that (government-subsidized) cigarette makers kill many more people than weed does, and that -- by the way -- every year about 200,000 more Americans go bankrupt
and the best you can do is "busy elsewhere"?

ps and writing "patients" quote/unquote when discussing cancer and AIDS patients really tells us more about you than your whole posting "career" here on MeFi could ever do.
those of us who have actually seen loved ones stricken by those illnesses have a tendency not to crack jokes about their pain, and their need to relief nausea and not to lose too much weight, but anyway, have your fun. Compassionate Conservative indeed.
Thank goodness it's the liberals here who are supposed to be the intolerant group, as you right-wingers constantly whine

posted by matteo at 4:52 PM on September 16, 2003

matteo: seriously, get over yourself.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:05 PM on September 16, 2003

what matteo said, in spades...pot has been a godsend to people i know suffering from the nasty side-effects of the AIDS cocktails and wasting.

also, i'm assuming that if you're ill with a disease or from treatment to combat a disease, you really shouldn't be waiting for your crop of pot plants on the windowsill to grow...the relief people (with AIDS, with cancer, undergoing chemo, etc...) get from even a few tokes helps them survive to fight on.

also again, if you have a national health system, you'd expect everything they dispense to be of a good standard, and it's a shame it's not.
posted by amberglow at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2003

I can get over myself pretty good, steve-- I just don't find cancer and AIDS to be funny topics, and I can't really laugh about people who are dying because of them. unlike you do, Steve

plus, you just go for the personal insult every time one of your threads gets debunked. which is quite often.
and remember to check under your bed for "Socialists", before you go to sleep

posted by matteo at 5:20 PM on September 16, 2003

NEWSFLASH Steve_at_Linnwood successfully baits the Metafilter left with tongue-in-cheek posting, then infuriates them with ideologically extreme pronouncements - thus diverting their energies from political activism [ Story at 11. Stay tuned...]
posted by troutfishing at 6:53 PM on September 16, 2003

* watches matteo continue to shadow box *
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:55 PM on September 16, 2003

*watches S_@_L continue to flush goodwill down the toilet*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:48 PM on September 16, 2003

Who needs cannabis when there's more lead for children and the healing power of Jesus just a little south. Now that's a pro-family platform if I've ever seen one.

The dirtiest, nastiest skunk week doesn't even compare to increased lead levels in children or buying into faith-based "medicine" because health insurance is so expensive.

44 million Americans are without any medical insurance.

posted by skallas at 9:05 PM on September 16, 2003

*watches steve continue to make pointless snide comments from sidelines rather than offer any solution on issue he decided to raise*
posted by soyjoy at 10:06 PM on September 16, 2003

im looking into this vaporizer method...interesting.

I got to use a vaporizer once. It was totally sweet. It takes a little longer to get going than just lighting the pot on fire, but it's so smooth-- like you're not inhaling anything but air. Very good for you-- I would especially recommend it if you smoke a lot or are concerned about the state of your lungs.

I'm curious; where are you guys finding your numbers about the quantity of THC present in various grades of marijuana? I'm kind of curious, and I'd like to get an idea of how strong the stuff I smoke is.
posted by nath at 12:52 AM on September 17, 2003

Hah, I've smoked government weed (my old dealer/buddy used to have a prescription for percossets or oxycontin or some such opiate that he traded with a cancer patient who was being given weed by the government, or was using his cancer as a front for dealing drugs, or something). It's the Victory Gin of marijuana. Give me Northern Lights or Red Madness anyday.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:09 AM on September 17, 2003

If this is what you call goodwill, you can keep it.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:18 AM on September 17, 2003

if you have a national health system, you'd expect everything they dispense to be of a good standard

Why would you expect that? From the article:
But Lucas declined to identify the three labs that did the testing, other than to indicate they're in Vancouver, saying he fears the facilities might suffer repercussions from Health Canada [...]
Government-run medicine in Canada is behaving just as you'd expect any monopoly to behave.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:59 AM on September 17, 2003

well, slithy, do Canadians trust the medicines they receive? Tons of Americans trust Canadian medicines--they've been either driving up there, and/or ordering online in droves. Just because something is a monopoly doesn't mean it doesn't work...You could say that monopolies are even preferable in some circumstances, like electricity and other basic services.

If pot is distributed for medicinal purposes, it should be strong enough to work for its stated purposes--in that respect it's no different from any other medicine.
posted by amberglow at 11:20 AM on September 17, 2003

Actually, as someone who has to live with the Ontario medical system rather than admire it from a distance, it's pretty shitty. Whether it's shitty because it's underfunded or because it's a socialist monopoly, I leave to the mob.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:07 PM on September 17, 2003

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