Question: “Are programs about addiction protecting the youth of the nation from the dangers of drugs or protecting the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture synthetic cannabis products? Cannabis Corner (CC) will examine the drug programs in elementary schools.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report, prepared by the RAND Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leaves out medical use. SAMHSA classifies the marijuana plant along with cocaine heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, or prescription psychotherapeutic drugs as a  drug use disorder (DUD)   Pediatricians are discovering programs teaching drugs to school-age children often fall far short of expectations.

Canada Centre on Substance use, and Addiction designed the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP). CSSDP is a grassroots network of youth and students who are concerned about the negative impact our drug policies have on individuals and communities.  CSSDP considers drug use a health and human rights issue rather than a criminal-legal issue. They advocate for evidence-based responses to reduce and prevent the harms associated with drug use and drug criminalization.


These youth programs are based on evidence-based science but, science can be evidenced-based, anecdotal-based, or scientism-based. Pub-Med, the NIH National Library for Biotechnology Information, reveals 47,464 research citations for marijuana and 35,018 citations for cannabis. An increase of 14% and 17% over a year ago. While the Canadian program does go into the endocannabinoid system and is more science-oriented, it still treats marijuana as an addictive plant that messes your brain. The NIH, and CDC developed patents with our tax dollars on CBD as a neuroprotectant. How does the CDC and NIH royalties for pharmacy-grade cannabis molecules affect your answer?

The CSSDP booklets are easy to read, foster engaging conversations, and show youthful graphics. The questionnaires are geared to help the student monitor their progress throughout a two-week period of attempted absence. The Sensible Cannabis Education Toolkit comes in many languages and is free for downloading in a pdf format. Students today are very Internet literate. They read about marijuana themselves. They see parents and friends using marijuana who do not get sick and do not become addicted. They know much of what the government says about marijuana is false.

The Partnership to End Addiction is another program that: “implements comprehensive, age-appropriate, research-based prevention programming. This program has a real impact on reducing marijuana use and its adverse effects in our youth. It’s essential to start at an early age and continue throughout a child’s academic career.” Most programs do not separate the differences between alcohol, marijuana, opiates, or fentanyl, as the dangers are different for each substance.  Marijuana has an addition rate of 9% the same as coffee. Opiates and alcohol have a 30% addiction rate.

Stanford medical school has a cannabis awareness toolkit that is freely downloadable with PowerPoint presentations. The presenter talks about finding “Who you are,” and “finding your dopamine – the developing brain.” It mixes valuable and false information in very related slides but doesn’t tell the whole story.

CC believes The University of Saskatchewan is the future of youth education on drug safety. They developed  The Safe School Health Improvement Project (Safe SHIP) and the School Health Initiative with Nursing Education (SHINE). SHINE and Safe SHIP programs are community-based partnerships between the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, two elementary schools and two high schools in Saskatoon (Saskatoon includes St. Luke, North Park Wilson, Bishop James Mahoney, and Tommy Douglas). Through these programs, university students from the College of Nursing and the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition will collaborate with youth in participating schools. CC challenges the California homeschooling curriculum to implement Safe SHIP.

The programs that lump cannabis with alcohol or opiates are not science-based. The FDA’s arbitrariness designates marijuana to be a Schedule I for THC and CBD, Schedule 3 for THC in Marinol, and Schedule V for CBD in Epidiolex. A physician anywhere in the US can legally prescribe CBD or THC for medical conditions only in these three formulations? What is your conclusion: Do programs on addiction: protect our youth or the pharmaceutical companies?

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