A medical cannabis program is only as good as the number of suffering patients that it helps, and that fact that is applicable anywhere that medical cannabis is legal in one form or another. After all, the whole point of legalizing medical cannabis in the first place is to boost safe access.
Unfortunately, many medical cannabis programs around the globe, while perhaps well intended, largely miss the mark. One of the largest barriers to safe access comes in the form of a doctor referral, with many patients that suffer from a qualifying condition still being unable to access medical cannabis because their doctor is unwilling to sign off for whatever reason.
As we previously reported, there’s a huge gap between the amount of medical cannabis information readily available to doctors and the level of comfort that doctors have when dealing with medical cannabis. A peer-reviewed study out of Canada found that only 6% of doctors indicated that they had some type of medical cannabis education or training.
To be clear, there is no valid excuse for doctors to be unaware of the cannabis plant’s wellness properties and how it may help treat suffering patients. The results of tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies are available to anyone with internet access, including doctors, and clearly many suffering patients are using medical cannabis or want to. For doctors to refrain from learning more is negligent in many ways.
One country that is struggling with this issue is Argentina, which is home to an emerging medical cannabis program. The country’s Minister of Health recently issued a call to action of sorts to Argentina’s doctors, urging them to embrace medical cannabis more than they have been. Per La Voz (translated to English):
The Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti, toured the Expo Cannabis fair on Friday afternoon, which takes place in the rural area of the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo until next Sunday, where she pondered the participation of growers, families and activists in the regulation of the medical cannabis , and pointed out the need for more and more doctors to become familiar with its properties and prescribe it.
Vizzotti pointed out that “it is very important that there are already nine authorized seeds, that it is already possible to travel by plane with cannabis oil or with flower jars, and that there are already more than 50 research projects authorized by the Ministry of Health; in the Reprocann there are 180,000 people registered, of which 120,000 are already registered, but there are about 40,000 who are not yet referenced in a health professional”.
Doctors need to base their decisions on science and compassion, and not on harmful political views. Not that it was ever a valid excuse, but any doctor that tries to claim in 2022 that ‘there needs to be more researched conducted before prescribing cannabis’ is making that claim based on something other than science, as there is clearly enough research already out there to be able to know that cannabis is indeed medicine.
Furthermore, doctors need to recognize the number of patients that are already using cannabis to successfully treat their conditions, including outside of a medical cannabis program. Suffering patients are going to use cannabis whether they have a prescription/referral or not. If a doctor truly believes in compassion and helping the suffering, then they will do their part to help ensure that suffering patients don’t have to fear prosecution for using their medicine.