Another Heather Cole Column – Synthetic Marijuana: Dispensing Poison

Heather Cole

It is unacceptable, it is wrong and it is shameful that government has announced that it is adding synthetic marijuana to the Barbados Drug Formulary to be dispensed to the poor people of Barbados.

It has been stuffed down our throats for decades that marijuana was dope, harmful and addictive. I have never heard of not even a single person dying from an over-dose of marijuana and many are still being incarcerated because of it. Government should be leading by example but instead they are not. It is the government that is now imposing addictive and harmful synthetic marijuana which is worse than the natural herb on the people of Barbados.

We are not living in the 1960’s, 1970’s or the 1980’s when drugs where dispensed and the public had no previous knowledge of their side effects. We are living in an age where information on drugs is readily available on the internet. Gone are the days when a doctor prescribed medicine, you took it unaware of the side effects, came down with another ailment, went back to the doctor to be told that it was too strong for your body or; it killed you.

Sativex, Epidiolex, Anabasum, Nabilone and Marinol are all either synthetic or synthetic mixed with cannabis drugs. They are created by scientists in labs. They are not pure or natural. One of the short term side effects of smoking synthetic marijuana is bleeding of the ears, then there is the display of an extreme version of epileptic fits. All of the five above mentioned drugs have negative effects on the brain, heart, liver and kidneys. What is the use of being cured from cancer or another ailment but be left with an expiry date on the major organs of your body?

This is an extreme version of buy now and pay later as these drugs will lead to government investing in more dialysis machines, more on treatment of cases of mental illness, increases in heart failure, liver problems and kidney failure. This is a negative investment. The better alternatives would be to grow and produce safe medicinal products locally or purchase natural drugs.

In light of the current controversy surrounding marijuana, its use for medicinal purposes and its decriminalization, it is nothing but a slap in the face for government to choose not to buy authentic products for sale in Barbados. Is the best not good enough for our people?

What makes it worse is that government intends to grow and export authentic marijuana; yet it has made the most ridiculous decision to import synthetic by-products. This defeats the purpose of growing the herb. The refusal of Government to keep its promise to hold the promised referendum on the decriminalization of marijuana adds to this dis-connect. The intent seems to be clear to prevent the poor black man from making economic gains from this herb while retaining criminalized status on the drug.

In the final analysis, Barbadians must be allowed to grow marijuana and produce on the island by-products that are natural, authentic and safe for medicinal use. Exclusion from the marijuana market is not what Barbadians voted for. All Barbadians must benefit from the production, trade and the production of products from marijuana.

The Ministry of Health must go a step further to inform us why we cannot grow marijuana and produce our own medical products since the imported version is nothing more than poison. How is this decision that placed those synthetic drugs on the formulary managing or promoting health and wellness? What is the date of the promised referendum?


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  • Jwh018 was the first synthesized marijuana mimic. It was designed to act on the same 2 receptors marijuana does. But he created it to research effects of marijuana but it was illegal so he synthesized his own. Maybe if that plant was legal and the chemical creation was ilegal we may not have this problem…..the difference between extracting and synthesizing is drastic