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Health Canada To Do Random Testing On Medical Cannabis After Mass Recall Affecting 25,000 Customers

10 February 2017, 7:30 pm EST By Arrianne Del Rosario Tech Times
After mass product recalls and health complaints in 2016, Health Canada announced, through an official statement, that it will now do random testing on medical marijuana products sold in the country.   ( Uriel Sinai | Getty Images )

Health Canada will start random tests on all medical marijuana products in the country.

The announcement came after a mass recall involving almost 25,000 consumers who reported side effects and threatened to file a class action lawsuit.

Banned Pesticides Found In Medical Marijuana

In December 2016, the Canadian health department was put under controversy after banned pesticides were discovered in marijuana products sold by government-licensed manufacturers, Organigram Inc. and Mettrum Ltd.

The pesticide in question is myclobutanil, a chemical highly prohibited not only in Canada, but also in U.S. states such as Washington and Oregon. Myclobutanil-based pesticides should not be used for combusted plant products, such as marijuana and tobacco, because they're known to release hydrogen cyanide when heated.

Hydrogen cyanide affects how the body normally uses oxygen, which may cause headache, light-headedness, nausea, and vomiting. Exposure to significant concentrations of myclobutanil may lead to shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, seizure, loss of consciousness, or worse, death.

Low levels of other prohibited chemical pesticides, such as bifenazate and pyrethrins, were also detected in the questionable marijuana products.

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Although Health Canada denied receiving any report of adverse reactions, an article by CBC News Canada stated that Dawn Rae Downton from Halifax did file a complaint to the agency about severe bouts of nausea and vomiting for eight months, which is the same time when she had been smoking and eating medical marijuana.

Downton was diagnosed by a gastroenterologist with a typical case of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), which is a condition common to heavy and long-time users of marijuana.

A 2015 study reported that emergency room diagnoses of CHS in Colorado hospitals almost doubled since 2009 when the government took a more lenient approach about the issue of marijuana use. In Colorado, the use of marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, is allowed by state laws.

"The science behind it is not clear, The most likely cause is that people using marijuana frequently and in high doses have changes in the receptors in their body, and those receptors become dysregulated in some way, and it starts causing pain," Dr. Kennon Heard, one of the authors of the study and an emergency physician at the University of Colorado Hospital, explained.

Compulsive Bathing And Chronic Cannabis Abuse

CHS was first identified by researchers from Australia in 2004 who did a study on a group of 19 patients suffering from episodes of nausea, vomiting, and chills. All the subjects were under chronic cannabis abuse.

According to the study, at least nine of the participants were compulsive bathers, taking a ridiculous amount of hot showers and even waking up at night to do it. But their obsession with hot showers is not due to marijuana's psychotic effect, but because they discovered on their own that doing so somehow relieved the symptoms of CHS.

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