Medical marijuana has become the answer to illnesses and ailments of many Americans, but debates are still ongoing as to its benefits and hazards.
McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) recently hosted a symposium featuring medical experts in the U.S. the U.K. to delve into the rise in popularity of medical marijuana and how it has changed the world’s perspective on treatment. The gathering was in line with this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in California, according to a news release.
A number of doctors may not be able to guarantee the effectiveness of cannabis to treat illnesses, but they say that patients must be informed about their choices. “I don’t think that every physician should prescribe medical cannabis, or that every patient can benefit but it’s time to enhance our scientific knowledge base and have informed discussions with patients,” according to Dr. Mark Ware, who heads the health center’s Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit clinical research.
Ware believes that now is the perfect time to be open-minded about medical marijuana, although he admits that more studies need to be conducted to understand the drug further. “We need to advance our understanding of the role of cannabinoids in health and disease through research and education for patients, physicians and policy-makers,” Ware added.
Dr. Igor Grant, who serves as director of the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), sees the potential of medical marijuana to advance neurological treatment. “Despite a commonly held view that cannabis use results in brain damage, meta analyses of extensive neurocognitive studies fail to demonstrate meaningful cognitive declines among recreational users… Brain imaging has produced variable results, with the best designed studies showing null findings,” Grant said.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active potent ingredient of marijuana, is approved as a drug for pharmaceutical purposes in several U.S. states as well as selected countries around the world.