Article by CBC News
A new guideline for medical marijuana, developed by Edmonton researchers, warns family doctors that the risks may outweigh the benefits for the vast majority of patients.
The guideline, published Thursday in the Canadian Family Physician journal, suggests the benefits of medical cannabis may be overstated, and research on its medicinal properties is sorely lacking.
Canadian doctors should think twice before prescribing the drug, said Mike Allan, who led the research team.
“For most things we shouldn’t be recommending it, because we don’t have enough research to say if the benefits of the therapy outweigh the risks of the therapy,” said Allan, director of evidence-based medicine at the University of Alberta.
The guideline was based on a review of clinical trials involving medical cannabis.
The document will be distributed to 30,000 physicians across Canada, and is intended as a new protocol for doctors to use when deciding whether or not to prescribe marijuana.
Thousands of Canadians are already prescribed medical marijuana, and that number is expected to rise after marijuana is legalized this summer.
Family doctors face increasing pressure from patients asking for medicinal pot. But the study authors suggest there is little data for physicians to rely on before making that decision.