Canadian Medical Association Doubles Down On Its Call To Scrap Canada's Medical Marijuana Program

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is doubling down on its call to end Canada's medical marijuana program once recreational legalization comes into effect on October 17, 2018.

Dr. Jeff Blackmer - Vice-President of Medical Professionalism for the CMA - says most physicians just aren't comfortable with discussing medicinal cannabis with their patients.

"The medical profession, as a whole, has really struggled with the whole concept of medical cannabis," Blackmer told CBC. "There's definitely some physicians who feel comfortable in that area, but most don't."

Blackmer acknowledged that things may change in the future, but right now, he doesn't believe that the evidence supporting the medical applications for cannabis is strong enough to keep the program going.

"Right now, the type of evidence, the quality of evidence that we typically look for before approving drugs or before funding drugs, isn't there for cannabis. That's not necessarily to say that it won't be there in the future, and certainly that's something that a lot of physicians are watching carefully."

This is the second time that the CMA has suggested scrapping Canada's medical marijuana program since last April. Now they're renewing the push to scrap the current system as Canada moves closer to legalizing a recreational cannabis market, which can handle the needs of patients, according to Blackmer. 

"If anyone can go down to the local dispensary and get cannabis, there's really no need for a separate medical authorization system. You really don't need to have people going to their doctors because anyone who has a medical condition and thinks they might benefit from it can go ahead and try it," he explained.

However, medical marijuana doesn't seem to be going anywhere for the time being, as it has begun to receive more coverage from health insurers and a push for increased access from First Nations communities.

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