Canadian Doctors Given The Green Light To Prescribe Medical Marijuana
Since Canada has legalized medical cannabis, they have spread out access availability across the country. Physicians have been given licenses to prescribe marijuana, however, until recently Canadian doctors have lacked a set of guidelines to follow when providing their patients with specific usage instructions.
Canada Doctors Now Prescribing Cannabis To Patients
The College of Family Physicians of Canada has created a new set of guidelines to instruct doctors how and when to help their patients medicate with marijuana to treat their specific condition.
“Physicians are in a difficult situation with a product that remains illegal in Canada and yet for which they are now asked to actually be the prescriber of this substance,” said Francine Lemire, CEO of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The guidelines are to provide a blue-print for patients, designed to help doctors inform patients how to safely access marijuana without risk of unintended consequences.
Under the new set of guidelines, Canadian doctors are instructed to only prescribe cannabis to patients when all other treatment options have been exhausted. These guidelines also limit people under the age of 25 or those with a family history of psychosis or substance abuse disorder. Medical marijuana is also not to be prescribed to treat anxiety or insomnia, regardless of multiple studies showing cannabis can actually help treat different stress-induced anxiety disorders as well as insomnia.
Canadian Physicians Not Sure How to Feel
Until Health Canada and other credible health institutions have completed comprehensive and extensive studies on the health benefits of cannabis, many physicians feel unsure of how to effectively exercise their right to prescribe cannabis.
Pain researcher at Dalhousie University and chair of the Arthritis Society’s scientific advisory committee, Jason McDougall said, “I think it’s high time that we found something to help the 4.6-million Canadians living with arthritis and trying to do something to help. I think physicians are hesitant about it because they don’t fully understand.”
The Arthritis Society has plans to allocate funds toward marijuana research, which Dr. McDougall hopes will help inform the public and encourage further community benefits through cannabis treatments.
Dr. Chris Simpson, President of the Canadian Medical Association believes that these guidelines with help prevent a “wild west” approach to cannabis treatment and will help doctors maintain a scientific approach and ensure better patient care.
Despite how stringent those guidelines seem to be, Canada is still far ahead of the United States when it comes toward getting cannabis safely to their ill. With an estimated 40,000 Canadians using cannabis to medicate, we should start to see a shift in the healthcare system as more and more physicians begin to open their minds to cannabis as a viable treatment option.