Regardless of new federal regulations that allow Canadian doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients, physicians in Quebec are being advised against it.
Earlier this month, the province's College of Physicians (CMQ) released a series of guidelines aimed at stopping doctors in Quebec from taking part in Health Canada’s redefined medical marijuana program.
“The new [federal] regulations, compared to the old regulations, now puts the burden of prescribing marijuana on the shoulder of physicians. This is the main difference,” Dr. Yves Robert, with the Quebec College of Physicians recently told The Montreal Gazette. “The problem is that medical marijuana is not a recognized treatment. This is the basis of our guidelines.”
Since cannabis is “not an approved therapeutic product” in the eyes of Health Canada, the CMQ’s guidelines will only allow physicians to prescribe marijuana for research purposes. However, study provisions will not be available until sometime this summer, when the college hopes to collaborate with the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids. Only then will physicians be permitted to prescribe marijuana.
Unfortunately, there are only seven qualified conditions approved by the CMQ guidelines: multiple sclerosis, spinal injury, spinal cord disease, cancer, AIDS/HIV, epilepsy and arthritis. The good news is, however, that the latest Heath Canada regulations that went into effect at the beginning of April set no restrictions on medical marijuana eligibility.
Yet, cannabis advocates are unimpressed with the CMQ’s new guidelines and believe all they are doing is alienating patients in need. “For now, this is actually worse than the old program, because it cuts out a lot of patients who don’t fit into this first category that the College released,” said Adam Greenblatt, the executive director of the Medical Cannabis Access Society.
“Some examples of this are patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. None of these are included on this initial list on the college’s guidelines.”
Other medical professionals say patients deserve better than the “ill-informed” position of the CMQ. Recent statistics from Health Canada indicate that only 7% of the nation’s physicians have ever recommended medical marijuana.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.