Brief to Australian Parliamentarians
Our Vision: To support and educate young people, their families and communities
to prevent the damage caused by drugs
Why the rush for unregulated cannabis oils as medicine?
The current push for the NSW and Federal Governments to abandon testing strictures
on the medical use of cannabis oils is likely due to recreational cannabis users seeking
quicker access to medical cannabis for their recreational use.
Legislators must recognise that the latest form of recreational use of cannabis is via
cannabis oils and tinctures being used with e-cigarettes or vaporiser pens. This
form of smoking emits an odourless vapour that allows a recreational user to smoke
undetected by police in public.[viii] Cannabis oils and other useable concentrates can
have THC contents as high as 80%,[ix] (most smoked cannabis has 3% THC), which
opens the use of high THC preparations for medical use to severe recreational abuse
proliferating the dangers of public intoxication which Australians do not want according
to various Australian surveys such as the yearly Quantum poll. Drug Free Australia has
previously suggested that federal legislation needs to address the variable THC content
of tinctures and oils as they relate to recreational use, particularly regarding their use
with e-cigarettes and vaporiser pens, and the current push for availability of unregulated
oils and tinctures only plays into the hands of recreational users, as can be seen from
US statistics below.
US statistics show how recreational users have been able to use medical cannabis
availability for self-reported ‘pain’ to feed their recreational use. For instance, 90% of
medical cannabis patients in Arizona claim pain as their malady, while 4% use it for
cancer.[i] In Colorado, it is 94% for pain and 3% for cancer,[ii] while in Oregon 94% claim
to use it for pain.[iii] Only 2% of patients across 7 US states in 2014 used cannabis for
verifiable illnesses such as AIDS wasting or MS.[iv] Drug Free Australia notes that there
are no laboratory tests for pain, which makes it a prime candidate for ruse and
deception due to its subjective nature and the impossibility of objectively verifying or
disproving it.
There are well established profiles for patients of chronic pain across all Western
countries, where patients are more predominantly women and those aged 60 and
above. For instance, a 2001 study by Sydney University’s Pain Management Research
Centre found 54% of patients were women, with men suffering in their sixties and
women in their eighties.[v] Yet the profile for medical cannabis pain patients in the USA
is very different. A 2007 study of 4,000 medical cannabis patients in California found
that their average age was 32, three quarters were male and 90% had started using
cannabis while teenagers,[vi] an identical age and gender profile to that of recreational
users across the US.[vii] This discordant profile means that medical cannabis in the
various states of the US has mainly amounted to a quasi-legalisation strategy for
recreational use of cannabis via subterfuge and ruse.
According to the Australian 2013 NDS Household Survey 91% of Australians do not
approve of the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.
Gary Christian
Drug Free Australia
0422 163 141
html For use of vaporiser pens with the above concentrates see
the embedded video at the 1 minute mark particularly advises on use with vape pens
and oil rigs
[i] Arizona Department of Health Services (Apr. 14, 2011-Nov. 7, 2012) Arizona Medical
Marijuana Act Monthly Report
[ii] Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Dec. 31, 2012) Medical
Marijuana Registry Program Update
[iii] Oregon Health Authority (Oct. 1, 2014) “Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Statistics
[iv] Kevin Sabet et al. “Why do people use medical marijuana? The medical conditions of
users in seven U.S. states” The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice (Volume 8,
Issue 2 Summer 2014)
[v] ] Blyth et al. “Chronic Pain in Australia: A prevalence study” (Jan. 2001) Pain
[vi] Thomas J. O’Connell and Ché B Bou-Matar (Nov. 3, 2007) Long term marijuana
users seeking medical cannabis in California (2001-2007): demographics, social
characteristics, patterns of cannabis and other drug use of 4117 applicants. Harm
Reduction Journal
[vii] Gogek, Ed (2015-08-03). Marijuana Debunked: A handbook for parents, pundits and
politicians who want to know the case against legalization pp104,5. InnerQuest Books

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