Questions surround future of marijuana legislation, prescriptions for pain
Published Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:32PM ADT
The legal status of marijuana is about to change in Canada, and it seems changes can't come soon enough for doctors who are under increasing pressure to prescribe pot to patients.
Marijuana has become the remedy of choice for many suffering ailments from PTSD to chronic pain, and it’s far more available today because of products on the internet and in licensed dispensaries.
Dr. Tom Evans operates a pain clinic in Moncton, and says a lot of the demand is driven by word of mouth.
"Pain patients want their pain treated," says Dr. Evans. "There’s even more of that anecdotal, “I have a friend”, pressure with the cannabinoids, with marijuana, because it is so readily available.”
However, not everyone in the medical community is embracing weed.
"Right now it is the Wild West, and clinicians are reluctant to prescribe it, because they don't know what they're really prescribing," says Barry Strack with Horizon Health research services.
Strack organized a forum on Friday that explored the use of marijuana to control pain, and some unanswered questions.
"What is the strain medical marijuana that you're using? Do you have one joint per day or five joints? What is the dosage level, and how do you control for that? Those are all unknowns. We have no idea," says Strack.
Many say the so-called Wild West can only be changed with clear direction on the future of both medical marijuana and recreational use from the federal government.
"When you think carefully about what's involved in legalizing cannabis, you don't want to rush this,” says Dr. Mark Ware of McGill University.
Dr. Ware was a member of the federal task force that advised Ottawa on the route to legalizing pot. He says the legal changes may not come as fast as some hope.
"I think there are parliamentary committees; there's the senate review. It's not going to be, we're not going to see legalization, regularity implementation this year as far as I can see.”
The federal government promises to introduce marijuana legislation this spring, a first step on what might be a long road to legalized pot.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron