Dr. says MDs should not encourage pot use

(Below is a letter Dr. Meldon Kahan sent to the National Post newspaper on March 2, 2010)...

" Re: How To Get Your Medicinal Pot, letter to the editor, Feb. 27.

Dr. David Saul implies that if patients request a Health Canada cannabis authorization form, physicians are obliged by the provincial medical college to sign the form or refer them to a physician who will. This is incorrect and it is reckless to promote cannabis as a harmless medicine. I have seen patients whose lives have been destroyed by cannabis addiction or cannabis-induced psychosis. Smoked cannabis has been shown to cause precancerous changes in various tissues. Also, THC serum levels rise rapidly when smoked, creating a risk for motor vehicle accidents. The oral and inhaled versions of cannabis are far safer.

I would discourage physicians from authorizing smoked cannabis. They should prescribe oral or inhaled cannabis only for patients with a medical condition for which cannabis has been shown to be effective, and who are at low risk for cannabis-related harms.

Dr. Meldon Kahan, medical director,
Addiction Medicine Service, St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto "

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