Doctors in Canada are reportedly becoming more open when it comes to prescribing medical cannabis to their patients.
According to a report published by the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons, 50 percent more medical cannabis prescriptions were given to patients in the first four months of 2017, compared to the previous year.
By the end of 2016, 329 doctors were officially registered in Alberta to prescribe medical cannabis to 5,254 patients. While in the first quarter of this year that number increased to 495 doctors, and 9,995 Albertans.
One Calgary-based chronic pain physician, Dr. Lori Montgomery, prescribes medical cannabis to a small number of her patients, but always prescribes with caution. She told reporters, “Almost every single patient I have has asked about it. I do think there are situations when a patient has tried everything else, nothing else works and they’re low risk in terms of the things we think put people at risk of adverse effects of cannabis, then its worth a try.”
While traditionally doctors in Canada have been a little tongue in cheek when it comes to medical cannabis, mainly due to many long decades of prohibition and false assumptions, according to Montgomery, doctors are starting to open up.
Montgomery added, “Over the last year or two, people are more comfortable having that conversation. There are increasingly individual physicians who are saying, for a patient that I know well and I’m comfortable with their risk factors, I’d be prepared to authorize it for one or two patients, which is different from a year ago.”
There are still some reservations though, as is to be expected, as expressed by the Canadian Medical Association, who are still urging doctors to be cautious, “There’s a constellation of chemicals here that we don’t really know exactly what it is, what it does and how it interacts with other diseases. So it’s a bit of a problem to prescribe it,” said CMA president Dr. Granger Avery.
It remains to be seem what direction will be taken by physicians in Canada, a country already at the forefront when it comes to helping patients in need of medical cannabis.