Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jul 2014
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Postmedia Network Inc.
Authors: Linda Smith, Neil Closner, Marc Wayne, Mark Zekulin
Page: D8


Re: Medical marijuana producers attempting to woo doctors, July 24.

As the directors of the association representing the majority of 
licensed producers in Canada, we believe it is imperative that 
patients with a range of chronic illnesses and severe disabilities be 
able to manage their conditions through a variety of treatment 
options, including medical cannabis. It is therefore equally 
imperative that healthcare practitioners have access to the 
information necessary to independently assess whether medical 
cannabis has a place in their practice.

In this Citizen article, Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, president of 
the Canadian Medical Association, expressed some often-heard reasons 
for hesitation regarding the promotion of medical cannabis to 
doctors. But those concerns are simply not supported by the available 
evidence. While it is true that there is less clinical data available 
on cannabis than for many other medicines, this is largely due to the 
stigma associated with its recreational use and its current legal 
status as an illicit substance. A wealth of data has already been 
generated regarding the potential benefits and risks of medical 
cannabis, and more clinical studies are being published every year. 
Meantime, thousands of patients across Canada are currently 
authorized with Health Canada to receive cannabis legally for 
therapeutic purposes, and understandably patients continue to seek 
information from their doctors about this treatment option.

Unfortunately, Dr. Francescutti's statements completely undermine the 
thousands of physicians who have successfully incorporated cannabis 
into their treatment options, and dismiss the experience of tens of 
thousands of patients who have found cannabis to be an effective 
treatment option. However, where we can agree is that more research 
is required, and clinicians and researchers should be prepared to 
address this challenge in a rational and methodical manner, with the 
health and well-being of critically and chronically ill Canadians as 
the paramount concern and consideration.

Linda Smith, ABcann, Neil Closner, MedReleaf, Marc Wayne, Bedrocan, 
Mark Zekulin, Tweed Board of Directors, Canadian Medical Cannabis 
Industry Association (CMCIA)
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