Canadian Doctors Demand More Education and Advice on Medical Cannabis

Canadian Doctors Demand More Education

Bill Cavers, head of Doctors of BC warned the public that because of the lack of scientific research on medical marijuana, the federal government has failed to provide the doctors with meaningful data on how they should advise their patients about their consumption of medical marijuana. Instead of stuffing down their throat the information provided by the companies that supply with medical marijuana, Dr. Cavers believes an independent process is needed in place of the current one.

“Here we have providers who have a vested interest in promoting the product being the ones to potentially train professionals in how to provide that product,” Dr. Cavers said. “That’s analogous to a pharmaceutical company training me in the use of their product. While it may provide me information, it’s not unbiased.” Obviously, there’s a conflict of interest involved and patients are not benefiting from it. Doctors should know what they’re prescribing to their patients, and the information they provide should come from clinical trials, not from companies producing and selling the drug. Under the current set up, medical marijuana is perceived as “free-for-all”, meaning, everyone with any condition might ask for it and would probably get it, whether it’s for their headache or some cancer related conditions.

The federal government decided to replace a system of small licensed growers with commercial-scale producers. Small growers were allowed to grow for themselves and to supply patients, while big commercial producers are selling their cannabis directly to the doctors. If that’s not a red flag, then what is? The Canadian Medical Association expressed disapproval and opposed the new set-up, because it completely changed the game for doctors. Under the new regime, they are literally forced to prescribe set dosages, while under the old one, they were only required to check whether the patient is benefiting from the use of medical marijuana or not. It does not come as a surprise that doctors are hesitant to act like they know all about marijuana while assessing their patient’s needs and prescribing accordingly the dosage they need. The situation got more complicated for them when Health Canada refused to approve marijuana as medicine, while at the same time being forced by the lawmakers to regulate it – because they think everyone in Canada should have the access to medical cannabis.

It seems that the rules have changed when big companies have entered the market. Doctors are desperate for more information and more education regarding medical marijuana, yet somehow they keep being ignored by the government.

Dr. Cavers pointed out that about ten years ago, the Canadian pharmaceutical industry had stricter guidelines imposed over them. These guidelines dealt specifically with how the representatives of pharmaceutical companies should approach medical professionals. This approach forced these big companies to organize various events and conferences where doctors and other medical professionals had an opportunity to raise questions and discuss topics that are important to the drug they should prescribe to their patients. So far, many of these professionals suspect that the Government has purposefully made Canada’s medical marijuana system complicated.

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