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Marijuana: The Dark Side of Cannabis

Course Number: CR-538
Course Length: 1 Day (7.5 Hours)

Palliative substances are those which are used to alleviate pain, anxiety or other unwanted bodily or mental symptoms without respect for curing or improving the actual underlying condition. The primary purpose is to reduce symptoms, rather than treat the illness. The medical implementation of palliative care is not dependent upon prognosis. A poison is any substance that when administered to a living creature, causes death or injury. So, where does marijuana fall? There are now many states allowing the use of “medical marijuana”, and Pennsylvania is now one of them. Several states have “legalized” the adult use of marijuana as an alternative to alcohol. The Federal government’s guidelines, through the office of the President of the United States, DEA, and the Attorney General, seem to be unclear. So what is marijuana and what are the issues that create such definite combative positions that seem to make a common plant an angel of mercy or a devil of death and misery? How will the legalization affect DUI, impaired workers, children, and other issues, especially in the Commonwealth?

This workshop surveys the broad areas of production, marketing, pricing, distribution and use of marijuana – both medical and non-medical. Topics include chemical ingredients, potency, methods of use, body retention, symptoms of use and abuse, issues of addiction and withdrawal, motivations of use, connections with other illegal drugs, and the various acute and long-term effects of use. The medical marijuana controversy will be discussed, with emphasis on the dangers of marijuana as a “medicine”, the “medical” treatment of children and adolescents, and the issue of drugged driving and marijuana use. Included in this updated version are points of discussion on Pennsylvania’s Act 16 and the recent “legalization” of pot for personal use in other states and its implications for the Commonwealth.

Law enforcement agencies, courts, and treatment facilities will be learning rapidly the implications of this rush to “medicate” and “recreate” with cannabis. This course will introduce participants to the pros and cons of the marijuana movement, and will attempt to keep up with the constant evolving of laws, rules, directives, and implementation. The appearance of growing facilities, dispensaries, caretakers, and patients will impact participants. That impact is yet to be determined.

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