VH medical director maintains marijuana mixed with tobacco has deadly consequences

VH medical director maintains marijuana mixed with tobacco has deadly consequences


Responding to concerns raised about the need for evidence based policy decision, in relation to warning persons against mixing marijuana with tobacco, Medical Director at Victoria Hospital (VH), Dr. Lisa Charles maintains that the issue is a cause for great concern and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Dr. Charles said she is happy the issue is generating much needed discussion, stating that a 2009 publication by Dr. Tan of the University of British Columbia in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, as well the paper “Cannabis on your Lungs” published by the British Lung Foundation provides excellent examples on this issue.

She pointed out that at a recent conference held in Cuba and attended by lead emergency medicine physicians from the University of the West Indies (UWI) campuses in: Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, there was agreement that the emergence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD in young individuals, smoking the mixture of tobacco and marijuana, was a cause for concern,” the doctor added.

One SNO reader however, said: “I appreciate that this is being done out of concern, and is directed to saving lives or at the very least, the quality of life. But people, please. Let’s be honest about this, and let us make policies that are guided by science and research.”

Director of the Saint Lucia-based Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute (CDARI) Dr Marcus Day is reported in the media as saying that Dr. Charles was not quite accurate in her statements. Day said when information is provided from a clinician, it is probably the worst case scenario.

The VH medical director has said based on her observation, young men and women in their 30’s with end stage lung disease, have been frequenting the hospital. The hospital also has a patient population of close to 15 – 20 people, who literally go to A&E either daily or weekly because their disease.

COPD is an extremely debilitating, progressive disease which directly affects the lungs. Patients with the disease are literally confined to a bed with oxygen tubes up their nostrils 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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  1. Dr.Charles your comments are evidenced base.If Dr. Day or others want to continue their practice they are free to do so. Not everybody will be affected the same way.Remember it is ganga mixed with black tobacco which is highlighted.Not ganga or tobacco specifically. I will follow your warning Dr.Charles wholeheartedly.


  2. That is so true Aron. The system has a negative impact in not smoking the weed the right way. A lot of our people out there were not taught how to smoke it without any health issues. Even our forefathers smoked in chalice and pipes while that wasnt a fatal move by them doing so. Look at black tobacco they did that in a pipe and live up to old age. The Rastas knows how to still produce the clay and coconut chalice that doesnt caused any respiratory issues per say.Although,Aron has missed out on a few words in what he has said. I think that your point is a legitimate and thoughtful statement. The system orchestrated this problem.


  3. 1) Tobacco is cancer causing largely because it delivers specific carcinogens such as NNK and NNAL that are not present in cannabis. Not all "tar" is created equal, and tobacco has some of the most carcinogenic types of tar known to science, whereas cannabis does not.

    2) Cannabis (marijuana) use is associated with a DECREASE in several types of cancer... potentially even providing a protective effect against tobacco and alcohol related cancer development.

    Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased lung cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

    Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn't also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.


  4. That has been going on for along time. Can you imagine thee amount of people dead and wasnt aware of what they were doing to themselves at the time of smoking weed? I do believed that,the practice began when thee authorities refuses to allow the Rasta's to used the weed as a sacra-mental spiritual thing. Because,the Rastas would of taught its members how to smoke the weed properly and that would of spread all over the society.So,the issue here is the system. They didnt understand that,the youth of this country has learnt the right way of smoking thee herb. Many of us were taught how to smoke in a chalice where done of that practice were causing any respiratory problems to anyone who uses it that way.


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