Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jul 2008
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Pamela Fayerman, Canwest News Service
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


VANCOUVER -- The use of medical marijuana to relieve pain and other 
disease symptoms can cause a huge range of adverse effects, say 
researchers with the University of B.C. and McGill University.

Researchers analyzed 31 studies from around the world conducted over 
the past 40 years and found that while nearly 97 per cent of adverse 
events were not serious or life-threatening, medicinal marijuana 
users still have an 86-per-cent increase in the rate of non-serious 
adverse effects, such as drowsiness and dizziness, compared to non-users.

The study published in today's Canadian Medical Association Journal 
found the risk of suffering serious, adverse effects requiring 
hospitalization is not elevated in medicinal marijuana users, 
compared to non-users.

However, studies on patients taking marijuana have shown that rarely, 
serious effects have been documented, including multiple sclerosis 
relapses, convulsions, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, 
urinary infections, cancer tumour progression and psychiatric disorders.

Research on recreational marijuana users shows they have an increased 
risk for psychosis and cancer, but the authors say no one should 
assume that the same effects would apply to those using it for 
medicinal purposes, due to different delivery systems and doses.

Dr. Jean-Paul Collet, one of the study authors who is a UBC professor 
and pediatrician leading clinical research at B.C. Children's 
Hospital, said in an interview that because of the small numbers of 
cases and patients, it's impossible to say whether the serious 
effects were directly related to the cannabis products.
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