Medical Marijuana Prescribing By Doctors Felt To Be Unclear

CANADA:  Some Canadian doctors continue to have concerns about prescribing medical marijuana after new guidelines were released for family physicians.

Earlier this week, the College of Family Physicians of Canada released preliminary guidance to its 30,000 members on prescribing dried cannabis.

The college said there’s no research evidence supporting use of medical marijuana for low-back pain or fibromyalgia. Its use can be considered for neuropathic pain, such as nerve-damage pain resulting from multiple sclerosis, from metastatic cancer or from diabetic neuropathy, when those conditions don’t respond to standard treatments, the guidelines state.

In April, Health Canada changed its regulations and put the power to authorize medical marijuana use in the hands of doctors. Supplies of the herb are now provided by licensed growers and patients with proven medical needs are no longer allowed to grow it for personal use.


Canadian Doctors Given Guidelines On Prescribing Marijuana

CANADA:  The College of Family Physicians of Canada has created new guidelines to help doctors determine if and when a patient should have access to marijuana to treat chronic pain or anxiety.

The college’s recommendations advise doctors to only approve access to medical marijuana for treatment of pain in patients who haven’t responded to other treatments, and say it is not appropriate for people under 25, those with a personal or family history of psychosis and those with a substance abuse disorder. The recommendations also say medical marijuana is not appropriate therapy for insomnia or anxiety.

The document was created to address the predicament doctors face because of new rules that make them responsible for approving access to medical marijuana despite the fact it has not been studied in-depth by Health Canada or approved for therapeutic purposes. A court ruling requires the department to provide access to medical marijuana when authorized by a physician. The challenge for doctors is that no comprehensive, systematic scientific evidence has been conducted to determine how effective medical marijuana is, what conditions it helps with, and who can best benefit from it.

“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.


Canada’s Doctors Decline To Join Anti-Marijuana Campaign

CANADA:  The main groups representing Canadian doctors have declared they will not participate in Health Canada’s upcoming anti-drug campaign targeting young people.

“The educational campaign has now become a political football on Canada’s marijuana policy,” said a joint statement released Saturday by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

“We did not, and do not, support or endorse any political messaging or political advertising on this issue.”

The release said all three organizations had been “invited to co-brand and provide expert advice” on the public campaign, initiated and funded by Health Canada.