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Dr. Juurlink debates medical marijuana in CMAJ

June 23, 2014

Should physicians prescribe medical marijuana? Why should doctors withhold cannabis if a patient insists it provides relief from chronic pain?

In a new Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) article, Dr. David Juurlink, head of Sunnybrook's division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology, makes a case for judicious prescribing of cannabis to patients who report meaningful benefit from it.

CMAJ's new debate-style article features opposing perspectives from medical doctors on the medical marijuana debate — particularly timely now that patients in Canada can legally purchase dried cannabis with a doctor's prescription. Health Canada's Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which legalize the sale of medical marijuana in specific cases, took effect Apr. 1, 2014.

"As physicians, we should not reject cannabis as a medicine simply because it makes us uncomfortable, or invoke concerns about effectiveness and safety without acknowledging that the other drugs we might prescribe carry similar and often much heavier baggage," writes Dr. Juurlink in "Medicinal cannabis: Time to lighten up?"

Read Dr. Juurlink's full CMAJ article and read the opposing viewpoint.

Watch Dr. Juurlink talk about his CMAJ article:

Dr. David Juurlink