Pubdate: Mon, 10 Dec 2012
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2012 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Claude Roberto


Re: "Doctors uneasy about medical marijuana; Survey reveals 
reluctance to assume gatekeeper role," the Journal, Dec. 5.

I commend Sharon Kirkey for her articles on pain and would like to 
add a few clarifying points.

More that 57 per cent of physicians in a recent survey said they 
lacked information on the risks and benefits of medical marijuana. 
This issue goes well beyond prescribing marijuana: most physicians in 
Canada are not trained to help patients suffering from chronic pain 
because it is not taught in most medical schools.

This is a tragedy because pain is a common reason for people to visit 
physicians and about one in five Canadians will suffer from chronic 
pain at one point in life.

It is also true marijuana can relieve neuropathic pain. Marijuana is 
often the only medication to increase appetite and reduce pain caused 
by HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and seizures. 
It has been used for thousands years for its anti-inflammatory and 
anti-spasmodic benefits that reduce the need to take several 
medications for complex medical conditions. Marijuana is also 
inexpensive, treats depression and improves the effectiveness of 
other medications. Its use leads to dependency less quickly than 
other medications.

Smoking is not a healthy way to tap the therapeutic benefits of 
marijuana and makes it harder to quantify doses. Medications have 
been developed from marijuana and we would gain if they were better 
known by physicians and patients.

Claude Roberto, Edmonton ( Alberta) Nerve Pain Association
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