Pubdate: Sun, 18 Nov 2001
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor; headline by newshawk


I AGREE with the Canadian Medical Protective Association that Health Canada 
has not done enough to educate doctors about cannabis. Health Canada could 
have made doctors' lives much easier in this regard by disseminating 
information on appropriate indications, precautions and dosing before 
implementing their regulations.

Doctors could have been advised that a major U.S. Institute of Medicine 
(IOM) report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, concluded 
that the risk-benefit profile of cannabis is well within that of many 
commonly used pharmaceutical agents.

Doctors could have been directed to the surprisingly large number of 
studies demonstrating the health benefits and safety of cannabis, more 
studies than exist to support the use of many old-time medical stand-bys, 
including Aspirin, penicillin, and codeine.

Cannabis has been used by a significant number of Canadians for decades and 
by cultures around the world for millennia. Its use as a herbal remedy in 
North America prior to its prohibition is well documented.

Shouldn't doctors already be aware of the long- and short-term side 
effects? Remember the old Chinese proverb: "Better to light a single candle 
than to curse the darkness."

Matthew M. Elrod

(Better to buy a flashlight than inhale candle smoke.)
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart