Editor's Message: Cannabis

Sarah Hamid-Balma

Reprinted from "Cannabis" issue of Visions Journal, 2009, 5 (4), p. 3

After our Visions issues on alcohol and tobacco, I’d been hoping for some time to round out the trilogy with cannabis. Cannabis is undoubtedly a hot issue and even thought Visions is a substance use journal in its own right, we were pretty sure we’d have—like in Alcohol and Tobacco—a lot of crossovers into mental health. We were right on all counts.

In researching this issue and trying to find contributors, a quick stroll around the Internet reveals a lot of  very strong pro-cannabis and anti-cannabis advocates. We don’t want this issue to be either. We wanted it to be based on credible research so we could set myths aside, but also grounded in real experiences and context. Because the context of use is so important. The more I’ve personally learned about cannabis, the more I knew that we didn’t want to paint it just in black and white, just the extremes. We want to fill in the middle.

Our Vision at the BC Partners—the group that brings you Visions Journal, the HeretoHelp website and many other resources—is to help provide good quality information to help you feel empowered to make more informed choices about your health. Each author speaks for themselves and/or their agency only. More than any other issue, I encourage you to read many articles in this issue, even ones that don’t fit your current opinion of cannabis. I want you to think about what your attitudes and assumptions are, suspend them for a little while, and listen to the various perspectives in this issue. Be curious. Ask questions. Talk to other people. Look up the research that’s brought up in many articles. Share this copy of Visions with others. And make up your own mind. If an article excites or angers you—or just makes you think—tell us about it. Be part of the conversation.

Visions is no stranger to controversy. Our sexuality issue back in 1999 rankled some readers and we’ll be looking at that topic again with our GLBT issue in the Fall. We want to pick themes that are timely and that add to important conversations—or even help fill gaps in knowledge. So whether you smoke weed or not, I think you’ll find this issue fascinating. You are bound to, as I did, learn something new.

 
About the author
Sarah is Visions Editor and Director of Public Education and Communications at the Canadian Mental Health Association's BC Division. She also has personal experience with mental illness.

 

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