Dr. who published cannabis column decries ‘misinformation’ and ‘attacks on THC’

This post has been updated to include the statement from the vice-chair’s office.

The vice-chair of Toronto Public Health has released a statement following a backlash that has been meted out in a Toronto Sun column decrying the “attack on THC,” and suggesting she ought to be “ashamed of [her]self” for publishing an article that depicted the drug as a sinful behavior.

“There is a longstanding, widespread misconception that MDMA, or ‘CBD’ is not useful in the treatment of chronic pain. With this piece, I wish to elucidate what I believe is the evidence for this medical use of MDVP, and explain why MDVP is not dangerous to individuals with chronic pain,” wrote Canada Zuniga in the column.

According to Zuniga, there is no evidence that a low concentration of MDMA, the psychoactive compound in commonly used recreational drug MDMA, is a danger to opioid addicts who use it recreationally. The Canadian Medical Association recently issued a policy statement stating that MDVP and other forms of CBD are “safe and effective treatment options for chronic pain.” However, Molly Mitter, national policy lead at The Foundation for Addiction Research, told the Post that it can be dangerous, and that the current system of medical marijuana use is not yet ready for recreational marijuana.

According to Rachael Cutler, a spokesperson for Toronto Public Health, the vice-chair wrote the column to “promote a public discourse on the benefits of cannabinoid therapy,” as well as provide “scientific information” to promote the use of CBD medication for those dealing with chronic pain.

“The Vice-Chair states that she wrote the article in response to a recent ‘innuendo-laden’ Post op-ed. Since her office receives a lot of media attention, and she expressed frustration over the criticism of her column, we thought we would provide an opportunity for clarifications,” Cutler said in an email to the Post.

Zuniga, however, hasn’t changed her stance that the article represents the “need to protect the use of psychoactive drugs,” a source told the Post.

Zuniga didn’t respond to a request for comment from the Post. Her office did publish a link to the article on Facebook and Twitter, despite writing in the column that the article “should be dismissed as ‘alternative facts.’”

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