Dr Vroom responds

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 52, No. 9, November 2010, Page 436 Letters

Ms Capler and Mr Lucas are correct about my lack of knowledge of marijuana pharmacology. Their recommended web site has, unfortunately, not educated me any further. 

The whole crux of my editorial was to acknowledge that I have no knowledge about all of the actions of the 60-plus cannabinoids contained in a joint, nor of their potency or concentration. That makes endorsing, let alone prescribing, a substance such as this problematic for me. 

I pointed out that the only legal way to access marijuana is by the recognized indications contained in the Health Canada Form B1 and palliative situations. Ms Capler and Mr Lucas maintain that it is not for physicians to decide what is or isn’t medicine. Maybe so, but there are many medicines that I won’t prescribe. And that is my right. 

Just because Health Canada has created “medical marijuana” as an escape from advocacy group pressure doesn’t mean that I have to accept their problem as now being mine.

Marijuana has an excellent reputation for being a recreational drug. I am sure that, some day, research will lead us to completely understand all of its actions. Perhaps we may even see it legitimized for recreational use. In the meantime call it “experimental marijuana,” “research marijuana,” or “palliative marijuana”—anything but “medical marijuana.”

Willem R. Vroom, MD. Dr Vroom responds. BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 9, November, 2010, Page(s) 436 - Letters.

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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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