Every Monday, Chris Backer leaves his Sackville, N.S., house and heads to the north end of Halifax to hand out bags of cannabis edibles.
He and his little band of volunteers at the East Coast Cannabis Alternative Program invest the week leading up to shipment day filling the bags with a constantly altering menu of marijuana items.
Backer and the other volunteers hope that having access to cannabis edibles will help get compound users off more dangerous drugs.
” It’s breaking the cycle of addiction,” he stated. “Marijuana has actually been documented to be very successful and is an accessory to attempt to help beat dependency.” This is why Chris believes whole heartedly in handing out edibles in Halifax.
Does evidence support cannabis edibles as a substitute to get off hard drugs?
However, Dr. Samuel Hickcox, the physician lead for addictions medication at Nova Scotia Health, said there is no “premium clinical evidence” that supports the Halifax edibles program.
He said while there is observational information that reveals a reduction in the frequency of opioid injection in groups of individuals who smoke marijuana and inject opioids, there are no experimental research studies revealing a correlation.
‘ An unverified alternative,’ states physician
Hickcox is concerned that individuals may be motivated to stop utilizing tested medications for opioid dependency treatment in favour of marijuana.
” That truly stresses me due to the fact that we understand that people who have an opioid dependency, if they are on medications like Suboxone or methadone, that their health will improve. They’re much less likely to have fatal overdoses,” he said.
” If we take that far from individuals by offering an unverified alternative, we risk of actually triggering more harm than advantage.”
Backer, who has been a marijuana supporter for over a decade, was motivated to begin the Halifax task after seeing the work of the Marijuana Substitution Project in B.C
. The group starts a business outside the former St. Patrick’s- Alexandra School on Maitland Street in Halifax every Monday morning. (Brian Mackay/CBC).
He stated he wanted to make a distinction and assist in saving lives.
The program has just recently been signed up as a not-for-profit society, and is staffed by volunteers with supplies spent for through contributions.
Backer stated he’s unsure how much each bag deserves because the majority of the contents are contributed.
He stated many of individuals volunteering their time and contributing supplies and money have taken advantage of cannabis themselves and are simply trying to help others.
” A great deal of us have actually come off of our own addiction because of cannabis. It’s one of those things that if you know it works, how can you not help individuals with it?” he stated.
Backer said not everybody getting the packages is utilizing it as a substitute for other substances– and that’s fine with him.
” We know that it works for discomfort. And if I can make individuals’s lives a little bit much better that way, too, I imply, I’m not averse to that,” he stated.
Julien Carette has actually come to grips with dependency the majority of his life and is currently on methadone.
He works with groups that assist people who use drugs and tries to be outside the previous St. Patrick’s- Alexandra School on Mondays whenever he can. Backer’s group distributes its packages outside the abandoned structure, which is a short walk from a methadone center and needle exchange service.
Do cannabis Halifax edibles help with pain?
Julien Carette states the cannabis edibles offered by the program aid him with pain. (David Laughlin/CBC).
Carette said he is not utilizing the cannabis edibles as a substitute, but rather to deal with the pain following 2 recent mishaps.
” Drugs aren’t excessive of a concern for me as of late, which is a terrific thing,” he stated. “I’ve been working and I’ve been on an increase.”.
Backer said the group is giving out over 200 packages every Monday, however he wants they could offer the complimentary cannabis edibles more than once a week because the requirement exists.
” The sets, in my viewpoint, don’t last a week for the majority of people,” he said.
Chris Backer states they distribute more than 200 plans of cannabis edibles every Monday. (Brian MacKay/CBC).
” But for a great deal of individuals that are fighting much heavier addiction, I imply, stronger doses than what I’m providing would be better.”.
It’s a belief shared by Carette, who believes greater access to marijuana products would assist complimentary him from addiction.
” If I had access to this every day, I would by all means use it every day,” he stated.
Cannabis Act policies
With the Marijuana Act permitting the ownership and sharing of as much as 30 grams of cannabis with grownups, Backer said there is no legal impediment to him distributing the edibles for free.
He stated he has talked to authorities and they comprehended he “wasn’t trying to trigger a problem, simply trying to help.”.
Backer and the alternative program plan to continue distributing their bags of cannabis edibles throughout winter at the exact same place.
Hickcox said he remains in favour of any program designed to help people, however hopes that people are mindful of possible threats.
” I just would state that we simply need to continue cautiously,” he said.
” We also have to recognize that consuming marijuana has specific threats associated with it.”.