Are we putting the cart before the horse when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana? Some scientists and doctors in Canada believe so. Medical marijuana has been legal there since 2001. But while there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that people are getting relief from the drug, medical professionals say there’s still no true standard on usage and dosing. There is also a lack of data on long term risks that might come from using marijuana to treat a host of diseases from multiple sclerosis to cancer, migraines, seizures and dozens more.
A Canadian consortium is hoping to change all that. The Montreal Gazette reports the group, led by pain expert Mark Ware, will launch a massive study into medical marijuana. They will look at the long term effects on patients using the drug to treat chronic conditions. This research comes at a time when an estimated 40,000+ Canadian patients are already legally using some form of medical cannabis.
A new database will be created at the McGill University Health Centre. The database is being called a “world first." Doctors in the study will be trained on how to input volunteers’ data, and over time, they hope clear patterns will emerge. The goal is to uncover safety concerns and to find clues as to which type of marijuana and what delivery methods work best for each medical condition. The registry is expected to stay open for 10 years and include thousands of patients.