Maintaining a separate system for medicinal cannabis divides physicians

Health

Health Canada has stated that after legalization on October 17, recreational cannabis will be segregated from medicinal cannabis. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) believes that physicians should not play the role of “guardians”, which is challenged by professionals in the sector.

The CMA says that after legalization it should not be necessary for recreational cannabis to be a separate system of therapeutic cannabis.

A spokesman for the organization says doctors will continue to work with patients, but some of its members are uncomfortable with prescribing cannabis because of lack of clinical research, information and regulatory oversight.

For a separate system

Other professionals advocate, however, for the maintenance of two separate systems, believing that doctors have a role of “guardians” to play.

Karey Shuhendler of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) stresses the difference between therapeutic cannabis and recreational cannabis. The first contains a higher concentration of cannabidiol, which does not produce an intoxication effect, and is lower in tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC), which, on the contrary, in product.

CNA is concerned that, if the two systems are merged, the lure of financial gain will cause producers to focus on recreational cannabis, which would reduce access to medicinal cannabis.

We believe it is foreseeable that, without maintaining a separate flow for therapeutic cannabis, the production of the product will be based on consumer demand, which will mainly concern what is called [cannabis for] recreational purposes.

Karey Shuhendler, Canadian Nurses Association

She is also worried that patients are no longer asking their doctor for advice: “Without this type of clinical surveillance, our view as an organization is that we actually let patients take care of themselves. themselves and fend for themselves. “

This is also the opinion of James MacKillop, director of the Peter Boris Center for Addictions Research (PBCAR) and the Michael G. DeGroote Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University in Hamilton.

“I do not think we should keep a medicinal cannabis system because it has been proven time and time again in different settings, but because we really need to maintain surveillance, do more research, and engage in a dialogue with patients rather than simply allowing them to go for recreational use, “he says.

Health Canada has stated that after legalization on October 17, recreational cannabis will be segregated from medicinal cannabis. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) believes that physicians should not play the role of “guardians”, which is challenged by professionals in the sector.

The CMA says that after legalization it should not be necessary for recreational cannabis to be a separate system of therapeutic cannabis.

A spokesman for the organization says doctors will continue to work with patients, but some of its members are uncomfortable with prescribing cannabis because of lack of clinical research, information and regulatory oversight.

For a separate system

Other professionals advocate, however, for the maintenance of two separate systems, believing that doctors have a role of “guardians” to play.

Karey Shuhendler of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) stresses the difference between therapeutic cannabis and recreational cannabis. The first contains a higher concentration of cannabidiol, which does not produce an intoxication effect, and is lower in tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC), which, on the contrary, in product.

CNA is concerned that, if the two systems are merged, the lure of financial gain will cause producers to focus on recreational cannabis, which would reduce access to medicinal cannabis.

We believe it is foreseeable that, without maintaining a separate flow for therapeutic cannabis, the production of the product will be based on consumer demand, which will mainly concern what is called [cannabis for] recreational purposes.

Karey Shuhendler, Canadian Nurses Association

She is also worried that patients are no longer asking their doctor for advice: “Without this type of clinical surveillance, our view as an organization is that we actually let patients take care of themselves. themselves and fend for themselves. “

This is also the opinion of James MacKillop, director of the Peter Boris Center for Addictions Research (PBCAR) and the Michael G. DeGroote Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University in Hamilton.

“I do not think we should keep a medicinal cannabis system because it has been proven time and time again in different settings, but because we really need to maintain surveillance, do more research, and engage in a dialogue with patients rather than simply allowing them to go for recreational use, “he says.

Gary Symons, Director of Communications for Delta-9 Cannabis, cannabis producer and future retailer in Winnipeg, also deplores the CMA’s lack of research. But he says his company is striving to introduce new technologies to improve dosage accuracy.

Maintaining a separate medical system, he says, will promote a better understanding of cannabinoid therapy in the medical profession.

The same goes for National Access Cannabis, which states in a statement: “The recreational market is aimed at adults and does not replace medical prescriptions and the associated assessments and screening tests necessary to treat the patients. “

A “dividing wall”

Some believe, however, that there is work to be done on the perception of the product.

James O’Hara, a medical cannabis consumer and chair of the Canadian group for equitable access to medicinal marijuana, says patients “really want to talk to their doctors, but [they] think there’s a dividing wall as regards medicinal cannabis “.

O’Hara acknowledges that the Canadian system of therapeutic cannabis is not perfect, but he sees an opportunity for the country to be a leader on the world stage, and he wants doctors to be part of it.

Therapeutic cannabis:

  • Therapeutic cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001.
  • According to Health Canada, more than 296,000 Canadians were registered for medical cannabis at the end of March 2018.
  • In March 2018, approximately 3,500 physicians provided therapeutic cannabis literature to their patients and licensed producers delivered nearly 133,000 deliveries to the country.
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