Article by Solomon Israel, The Leaf News
The College of Family Physicians of Canada drew the ire of Canadian cannabis advocates in February, when it published a set of guidelines meant to help primary-care physicians decide when to prescribe cannabis.
Cannabis and its chemical constituents, concluded the guidelines published in the medical journal Canadian Family Physician, “are not recommended for most patients and conditions by far.”
Cannabis is “an ineffective and useless substance,” wrote the journal’s associate scientific editor Dr. Roger Ladouceur in an accompanying editorial entitled “The cannabis paradox.”
“Study after study, analysis after analysis, and review after review have all reported the same findings: cannabis has little place within current therapeutic arsenals, except as a last resort in very specific situations or when nothing else has worked,” wrote Ladouceur.
The state of marijuana for medical purposes in Canada is indeed a paradox of sorts.
The number of Canadians who are legally using cannabis to treat medical conditions ranging from chronic pain to seizures, from muscle spasms to insomnia, is growing at an astounding rate. At the same time, the attitude of the Canadian medical establishment remains skeptical, at best.
Those attitudes are evident in the official positions of the Canadian Medical Association, the venerable advocacy and lobbying organization that represents more than 85,000 physicians across the country.
In its August, 2016 submission to the federal government’s cannabis legalization task force, the CMA called for the government’s existing medical cannabis system to be abolished after the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. (That regulatory framework has existed, in evolving forms, since 2001. The government didn’t accept the CMA’s recommendation, and the federal medical cannabis program is set to continue in the near future.)
Federal legalization of cannabis “does away with the need for a separate medical system when these substances are available to anyone who’s interested in trying them,” said Dr. Jeff Blackmer, an Ottawa-based physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who helped develop the CMA’s cannabis policies in his role as the association’s vice-president of medical professionalism.