Doctors Balk at Increased Role in Medical Marijuana Prescriptions

Doctors across the country will be pushed next week into the role of medical-marijuana gatekeepers, becoming the final decision makers on who gets legal pot.

It’s a role that most physicians do not want to play, and a change that could make it potentially more difficult for patients already struggling to find doctors willing to endorse their use of marijuana.

Physicians say their chief concern is the lack of clinical trials demonstrating the need for and safety of medical marijuana; in addition, there is the lesser worry of providing pot to recreational users masquerading as patients. Canadian doctors were already wary of supporting applications for medical marijuana. Only 7 per cent of all physicians and 14 per cent of family doctors support active authorizations to possess medicinal cannabis, according to Health Canada figures crunched for The Globe and Mail.

Under the new system, the buck stops with doctors. Health Canada currently issues “authorizations” for people to possess medical marijuana after receiving a form signed by a doctor that confirms the patient has one of a list of symptoms or conditions that might be helped by smoking pot.

Now, doctors will be asked to fill out a form no more formal than a school permission slip, which patients send directly to a licensed private pot grow-op.

“I recognize that it seems subtle, but it’s actually quite a profound change because it’s essentially asking us to write a prescription,” said Chris Simpson, the president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association, which represents the country’s nearly 75,000 doctors.

– Read the entire article at The Globe and Mail.