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Medical cannabis: Doctors worried about prescribing it

medical cannabis

Doctors worried about prescribing medical cannabis

The question of whether physicians should prescribe cannabis oil or other cannabis products forms part of the cannabis controversy; more so when one considers the ethics behind the prescription of a Schedule I drug to minors. Although science is showing much promise in support of medical cannabis, results also tend to have unwelcome variables which need further analysis.

Many people are of the opinion that medical cannabis is a dangerous drug. They fail to distinguish between the psychoactive ingredient THC and the cannabinoid CBD. Others believe medical cannabis will lead to drug dependence and experimentation with harder drugs. MPR news reports that according to a survey, this concern is causing doctors to be hesitant about prescribing cannabis.

What do the doctors say?

Thousands of doctors from around the world are in full support of prescribing medical cannabis to patients. However, others say that scientific evidence and a clear treatment protocol is lacking. In Minnesota, doctors also feel that the circumstances under which they can prescribe cannabis remain unclear. But not all medical professionals are as hesitant

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN has come forward singing the praises of hemp oil and medical cannabis. Dr. Gupta says the stage is set for a medical cannabis revolution and is calling on governments around the world to ease off on restrictive cannabis prohibition laws. Dr. Gupta believes society stands to benefit from cannabis.

Dr. Vincent Maida is an associate professor affiliated to the University of Toronto. Dr. Maida also heads up the Palliative Care department at the William Osler Health Centre in Toronto. He has been treating palliative patients for more than two decades. Dr. Maida has said no-one has ever died as a direct result of a marijuana overdose and yet thousands of people die each year from prescription opioid based painkillers. He feels that patients should be allowed to use cannabis oil to improve their quality of life.

These sentiments are echoed by Dr. Juurlink who says “From a safety perspective, medical cannabis is miles ahead of many of the other drugs that sit on our pharmacy shelves.” Dr. Juurlink adds that the primary goal of modern medicine is to ease pain and suffering. He claims that when traditional medicines fail to provide relief from discomfort, the onus to prescribe medical cannabis rests with the attending physician.

Political Support

25 states across America have decriminalized medical cannabis. More states are expected to follow suite. Australia has begun the process of unveiling a medical cannabis program. Canada intends to completely legalize marijuana, including recreational pot smoking. Germany will roll out medical marijuana legislation in the spring of 2017 and South Africa is looking at a proposed bill which will see the beginnings of a medical cannabis program.

Numerous countries across the globe already have established medical cannabis treatment regimes in place and patients are reporting on the benefits. Medical cannabis has fewer contra-indications than many commercially available pharmaceuticals.


Perhaps the final word as to whether or not doctors should prescribe medical cannabis should rest with the patients themselves. If one takes a look at the global situation, it will be seen that patients are eager to gain access to medical cannabis.

War veterans suffering from PTSD have gone so far as to sue the federal government in the USA for discrimination and a failure to provide the best possible medical care. The case continues.

Stories such as that of Amelia Weaver add fuel to the fire. The child is dosed with non-psychoactive CBD hemp oil chewy tablets to prevent seizures. Since beginning her treatment, Amelia has not had a single drop seizure in six months. However physicians warn that further research into CBD must be concluded before CBD can be prescribed for such conditions.

The bottom line

Doctors have valid concerns about prescribing Cannabis. It is still a schedule 1 drug, more scientific evidence is needed, and there is the fear that if patients use a product with psychoactive side-effects, it will promote drug addiction. Despite voices in favour of prescribing medical cannabis, particularly in the form of hemp oil, these issues will need to be addressed before doctors can prescribe with confidence.

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