Trusting in your healthcare industry is a developmental thing.  I’ve always had full health coverage including free visits to my family doctor and free visits to any emergency room in Canada.  In visiting any one of these, we soon see that it’s a finely oiled machine with checks and balances throughout.  A confidence grows.  When new aspects of that same ‘industry’ are introduced, the same confidence is awarded them because your single-payer healthcare system has a system in place to keep you safe.

For me, however, this system let me down time and time again.  My small-town, small-minded family doctor preferred pills to any other therapy out there and so I’ve suffered with that, trusting still.  Now, fast-forward to so many years later and I have finally found the right medicine to treat my mental illness:  medicinal cannabis.

I jumped the fiery hoops to attain the right to possess and followed all usage guidelines and recommendations from Health Canada and the manufacturers of this medicine, and yet I sit here today realizing the full extent at which my Canadian healthcare industry has let me down.

My mental illness has recently evolved from depression to anxiety.  I’m pretty sure it’s hormone-related since the early 40s seems to be a common onset age for anxiety these days.  With anxiety comes many biological manifestations like nausea, lack of appetite, the inability to breath among so many others.  I have experienced these and others too, but the worst for me has been the lack of appetite and subsequent weight loss.  I even had a full blood and urine work-up to ensure all was good.

Through this I’ve learned that you can have absolutely no desire to eat and yet feel hungry.  Those two things used to be one in my mind, but now they are vastly different things.  The urge you feel when you look at a plate of food is a basic desire that promotes life.  I haven’t felt that in quite some time now.  Coming from a family and a background that celebrates food and that celebrates life while enjoying food, it doesn’t take long for family to ask why I’m not eating.  Or for loved ones to address weight loss and the pale complexion that comes quickly when one lowers their caloric consumption this much.  Sitting through the joy of Xmas dinner but having no appetite to enjoy it was utter torture for me.  It felt like I wasn’t a part of that celebration in some way. And I felt rude for not eating loved ones’ cooking with the gusto I used to have.  Suffice it to say that this appetite problem I’ve had has been a very big deal for me. Just ask my therapist 🙂

Here’s how this loss of appetite ties in with the healthcare industry.  This new and exciting medicine I’m using is “manufactured” in Canada by a number of different pharmaceutical-type entities. The one that I was using the month before Xmas is now in the news for being caught using an unapproved and highly toxic pesticide though they professed all along to be organic.  It seems that when cannabis is sprayed with Myclobutanil and then dried and smoked, it produces Hydrogen Cyanide.  I smoked this product for almost two months.  And since then I have dropped more weight, lost more of my appetite, and felt a fogginess in my head that is really starting to hinder my writing. I just sat here for half an hour trying to think of the word “symptoms”.  Unbelievable.

This manufacturer has admitted that I did indeed ingest contaminated cannabis for almost two months.  To apologize, they’re going to give me a credit to buy more of their potentially contaminated cannabis.  That’s a risk not many are willing to take.  And I am not alone here.  I spent the morning reading through other patients’ comments about their own drastic weight loss, their own foggy thinking,  their own lung issues.  Several patients in this conversation had consumed this medicine for almost a year and had lost upwards of 40 pounds!

So why did this happen?  How could this happen?  I thought my Canadian healthcare system with its all-inclusive coverage protected me from contaminated medicine.  Once again, through this experience I’ve learned some choking facts about how this medicine compares to conventional medicine and the quality assurance of each.  It’s basically not ensured, at least not by any diplomatic entity.  Self-regulation all the way.  Meaning there is no diplomatic body testing the cannabis before it’s being sent to the 130,000+ legal patients in Canada.  Most of the time the producer doesn’t test it either.

In this case though, self regulation allowed this manufacturer to spray my medicine for something called powdery mildew with something called Eagle 20.  In this case, the complete lack of governmental oversight has allowed this manufacturer to put Canadians’ health at risk for their own profit.  In this case, self-regulation will cost the Canadian healthcare industry precious dollars because we are now coming out of the woodwork with correlating symptoms and timelines of use.

This situation must be taken more seriously than it has thus far.  In speaking to the manufacturer’s sales rep, a friend says the entire situation was blown off as inconsequential.  I wonder if he still feels this way now?  In the news I read about a top U.S. toxicologist who sees the government’s reaction to this contamination as taking it too lightly.  Yet according to this article, Health Canada is satisfied with how this has all played out.  They feel that the wee slap on the wrist and the minimal future oversight scheduled is sufficient penalty for this producer of Cannabis.  How can they see this?

What’s about to happen here is choking though.  This small producer is going to get swallowed up by a bigger producer who has deeper pockets so the pinch won’t be felt as much.  The thousands of legal patients who now have physical and biological damage to their systems, will just go on deteriorating. How many of us have to step up?  Perhaps if every single patient who consumed this contaminated medicine were to report it to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act here, they’d begin to feel the magnitude of this.

I don’t think I can sit silent with this …. what about you?

This morning I received notice that I will receive a credit in the amount of how much I spent with this producer.  This credit can only be used on Cannabis and Cannabis Oil, meaning possibly contaminated product.  And of course, with this disclaimer:

“This credit is offered subject to the Organigram product credit policy; accepting this policy releases Organigram of any claim for liability or damages.”

Guess who isn’t using that credit.