The number of Canadians authorized to use medical marijuana has skyrocketed, even as medical experts warn that not enough is known about its risks and benefits. Now some are calling for researchers to tap into that growing pool of users to help answer some of those questions.
In 2002, a year after the government first permitted access to therapeutic cannabis through Health Canada regulations, 500 patients had registered. Today, there are more than 50,000.
This has happened despite the official position of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) which says that, “there is insufficient scientific evidence available to support the use of marijuana for clinical purposes.”
The CMA says not enough is known about the effects of medical marijuana, the interactions between pot and other medications, or how to prescribe an appropriate dosage. It advises doctors they are not obligated to write cannabis prescriptions for patients.