Pubdate: Tue, 03 Oct 2017
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Dr. Bharwani
Page: B2


Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN
is reported to have said, "Every 19 minutes somebody dies of a
prescription drug overdose. It doesn't happen with marijuana." In the
past Gupta was against legalising medical marijuana in the U.S. but
now he is in favour of it. He sees some benefit for certain types of

The use of medical marijuana (medical cannabis) as a medicine has not
been rigorously tested due to several restrictions. But there is some
evidence to suggest cannabis can reduce nausea and vomiting during
chemotherapy, improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and reduce
chronic pain and muscle spasm.

Medical marijuana can improve sleep, and improve tics in Tourette
syndrome. When usual treatments are ineffective, cannabinoids have
also been recommended for anorexia, arthritis, migraine, and glaucoma.
It should not be used in pregnancy.

Use of marijuana is not without side effects such as: Dizziness,
feeling tired, vomiting, and hallucinations. There is some concern
about the long-term use of marijuana. It may cause memory loss,
addiction, and schizophrenia.

Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in most parts of the world,
but the medical use of cannabis is legal in certain countries,
including Canada and 29 states in the U.S.

A cannabis plant includes more than 400 different chemicals, of which
about 70 are cannabinoids. In comparison, typical government=approved
medications contain only one or two chemicals. The number of active
chemicals in cannabis is one reason why treatment with cannabis is
difficult to classify and study.

Articles in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ September,
2017) make few important points on the use of medical marijuana:

1. Despite widespread availability, medical marijuana is still

2. Use of medical marijuana can increase the risk of motor vehicle

3. The drug should be titrated slowly with low initial

4. Users of medical marijuana may be vulnerable to

5. Recreational and medical marijuana are not equivalent and
therefore, should have different frameworks for access.

6. User should remember there are substantial gaps in our knowledge on
the use of medical marijuana.

7. More vigorous research is required to make better use of this drug.
"I do want to mention a concern that I think about as a father. Young,
developing brains are likely more susceptible to harm from marijuana
than adult brains. Some recent studies suggest that regular use in
teenage years leads to a permanent decrease in IQ. Other research
hints at a possible heightened risk of developing psychosis," says
Gupta in one of his articles.

On Aug. 11, 2016, Health Canada announced the new Access to Cannabis
for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The ACMPR allow for
reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes for Canadians who
have been authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes by their
health-care practitioner.

These individuals will continue to have the option of purchasing safe,
quality-controlled cannabis from one of the producers licensed by
Health Canada. Canadians will also be able to produce a limited amount
of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to
produce it for them.
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MAP posted-by: Matt