Not all physicians ready to prescribe Medical Cannabis

Our bodies naturally produce chemicals that help different types of cells “talk” to one another. The main active ingredient in cannabis works in much the same way. This inter-cell communication facilitates a wide range of potentially therapeutic effects, from quelling nausea to helping reduce pain, which is why many physicians now support the use of cannabis as medicine.

However, a significant number of doctors remain concerned about the lack of conclusive research into the effects of cannabis. Even supporters of medical cannabis admit there is too little research, but cite difficulties in obtaining permission to perform such research, in countries where the substance remains illegal. The very regulations that are intended to protect the public from dangerous drugs, they argue, are preventing cannabis from being properly tested.

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The result leaves many physicians unconvinced of its benefits, and concerned about its potential to do harm.

Canada provides an example of a government caught between mounting marketplace pressure in support of medical cannabis, and the obligation to maintain consistent and reliable medical standards for its citizens.

Canada’s national healthcare department has launched a $1 billion privatized system to control that nation’s medical cannabis industry. Promising transparency and tight regulations at every phase, from the way the plant is grown, to how it is cultivated and prescribed, Canada hopes to satisfy market demands while allaying medical concerns.

But for skeptical physicians, these precautions are not enough. Several of Canada’s medical organizations have joined together to urge the Canadian government to cancel the new, privatized system, and instead, subject medical cannabis to the same regulatory requirements that other prescription drugs are required to meet.

As Dr. Louis Francescutti, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said: “I can tell you as an emergency physician, I will not be prescribing any marijuana simply because I don’t feel safe that I know exactly what I’m prescribing.”


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