If you are a resident of Canada, you can become a medical marijuana patient with a prescription from any Canadian doctor (and some Nurse Practitioners). Medical marijuana (MMJ) is most commonly used to treat pain, seizures, dementia, andglaucoma by an estimated 40,000 patients in Canada (and growing).
Recommendations for Prescribing MMJ
The College of Family Physicians of Canada released recommendations advising doctors to only approve access to medical marijuana for treatment of pain in patients who haven’t responded to other treatments. The College also suggested it was not appropriate for people under 25, or for those patients with a personal or family history of psychosis and those with a substance abuse disorder. The recommendations also say medical marijuana is not appropriate therapy for insomnia or anxiety. Although the advice of the College may change with additional research.
Patient Treatment with Cannabis is a New Area of Research
Medical marijuana is a new field of research and additional health benefits are being suggested, although not confirmed in all cases. MMJ is already frequently used for pain management, reduced dependence on opioids, relief of spasticity, and stimulating appetite; yet cannabis may provide relief for many other symptoms.
At this time there is limited medical research on the health benefits of using cannabis to treat specific symptoms. However, there is a growing international pressure to incorporate medical marijuana into patient treatment plans. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is aware that smoking any plant carries a health risk, and they are uncertain if the drawbacks can be offset by the benefits. New research and new methods of consuming medical marijuana, such as vaporization and edibles, may mitigate the risks of smoking, while retaining the health benefits for the patient.
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