Article by James Moir, Edmonton Journal
The Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP) recently published a statement reflecting their stance on medical cannabis, basically stating there is insufficient evidence to recommend it, and that adverse effects outweigh any benefits.
As a physician working in Edmonton’s only legitimate “physician-and-nurse-run” cannabinoid medical clinic, I must object strongly to this stance. I have an MD from the University of Alberta, with five years’ subspecialty training in anesthesiology and pain medicine, and have over 20 years clinical experience in this area. I have five years’ experience in perioperative medicine and extra training in cannabinoid medicine, which allows me to prescribe medical cannabis and work in the clinic, where I have been for the better part of a year.
The ACFP’s statement is simply dead wrong, and appears to be based on outdated information, and at least partially based on the ignorance and stigma associated with cannabinoid medicine, which pervades the lay public and medical profession alike.
There is a misconception that medical cannabis is “smoking pot,”and that “pot is pot.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It is now known that humans produce natural cannabinoids that interact with receptors throughout the body. The details of why we have this system and what it does naturally are still being unravelled, but it is becoming apparent that it is an important physiological system, intimately involved in perception, learning, regulation of nerve function, immunity and the inflammatory response.
There is solid evidence that these compounds are effective in chronic pain and muscle spasticity associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, certain forms of epilepsy, wasting associated with chronic illness such as cancer, or AIDS, nausea associated with chemotherapy, and chronic anxiety states.
The adverse affects cited by the ACFP are misleading and inaccurate. It is stated that these effects are common, and include anxiety, hallucinations, exacerbations of schizophrenia, and chronic bronchitis and COPD.