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Six Ways to Discuss Cannabis this Thanksgiving

Cannabis science
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Here in Canada, we have a lot to be thankful for, including the fact that cannabis becomes legal on October 17.

So there’s never been a better time to #DiscussCannabis than around the dinner table during the holiday season. While there may have been stigma around cannabis use in the past – for decades, cannabis use has been unfairly associated with immorality, laziness and crime – the fact is that public opinion is shifting. A 2017 survey by the Government of Canada found that a majority of Canadians believe that cannabis use is socially acceptable.

#DiscussCannabis dinner table topics

While you’re passing the sweet potatoes and stuffing, serve up one of these conversation starters:

1. How long have people been using cannabis?

Long before fowl were being feasted on for Thanksgiving, cannabis was being consumed all around the world. In fact, cannabis is considered one of humanity’s oldest cultivated plants. Researchers have found archeological, environmental and written evidence of its prominence in Europe and Asia dating back several thousand years.

2. Why was cannabis ever illegal in Canada?

Cannabis wasn’t always illegal. But in 1923, cannabis was outlawed by Parliament – and unlike turkey and stuffing, the reasons aren’t very savoury. A 2002 report by the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs notes that early drug legislation was largely based on “moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate,” and that the decision was made without discussion or justification of any kind. In fact, the report states that many members of Parliament didn’t even know what cannabis was or what its effects might be.

While we’re on the subject of historical misconceptions:

3. Did the pilgrims really eat turkey?

Modern historians have pointed out that it was likely venison, not turkey, that was the main meat dish served at the first American thanksgiving – though there may have been plenty of fowl in the form of goose, duck, and passenger pigeons. It took another 250 years or so until turkey became the central fixture of the Thanksgiving feast.

4. Does turkey really make you sleepy?

While it’s true that turkey contains a chemical called tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential to human diets, and which is related to sleep, it’s more likely that digesting all that delicious food, not to mention any alcohol you may have consumed, is what’s making you feel like taking a nap after a turkey dinner.

Speaking of sleep:

5. Can cannabis help with sleep?

Your endocannabinoid system can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and promote more consistent sleep. And lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Not getting enough sleep is also associated with increased inflammation and reduced immunity, which can profoundly and negatively impact health on many levels. Recent research suggests that non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.

6. Does all cannabis make you feel high?

While the stereotype may persist that all cannabis products will make you high or stoned, this is simply not the case. The two key chemical compounds in the cannabis plant are THC, which produces a high, and CBD, which does not. Cannabis products that contain CBD and that are very low in THC produce little or no high. CBD has also been associated with relief of pain and inflammation.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we hope you have a happy October!

Learn more about Emerald Health Therapeutics, and find out how to apply for medical cannabis.

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