Doctors in Canada want to see the medical cannabis system phased out once legalization happens later this year, says a Canadian Medical Association vice-president.
“The medical profession, as a whole, has really struggled with the whole concept of medical cannabis. There’s definitely some physicians who feel comfortable in that area but most don’t,” Dr. Jeff Blackmer, vice-president of medical professionalism for the Canadian Medical Association, told CBC Calgary News at 6.
“And [that is] primarily because of the lack of evidence, the lack of scientific studies showing it actually works, the lack of knowledge around dosing and interactions with other medications — all these types of things. Our recommendation was that once it is legalized, that there really is no reason for a separate medical system.”
The federal government has tabled legislation that will make marijuana legal in Canada on Oct. 17.
A lack of clinical studies is the reason most healthcare plans in Canada don’t cover the cost of medical marijuana, said Blackmer.
“Right now, the type of evidence, the quality of evidence that we typically look for before approving drugs or before funding drugs, isn’t there for cannabis,” he said. “That’s not necessarily to say that it won’t be there in the future, and certainly that’s something that a lot of physicians are watching carefully.”
Education, said Blackmer, will be important in the lead-up to legalization.
“The reason for that is there’s a lot of misperceptions around cannabis and we know that, from surveys and studies that have been done,” he said. “We really want people, when they’re deciding whether or not to use cannabis once is becomes legalized, to make an informed decision. To understand there are risks associated with that, that there are potential health consequences.”
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