Physicians concerned over self-medicating as marijuana is legalized

As marijuana legalization approaches across the country, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan says it will maintain its current model when it comes to medical marijuana.

“I anticipate that there will continue to be some demand for physicians to prescribe (medical marijuana),” Bryan Salte, associate registrar and legal counsel for the college, said. “Whether that will diminish considerably, I simply don’t know.”

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Self-medication is one of many concerns physicians are expressing ahead of marijuana legalization across Canada. Despite that, the college said its practice around medical marijuana will not change post-legalization. Doctors who believe marijuana is an effective treatment will still continue to follow the same policy.

“We will still expect physicians to maintain appropriate standards when they do that,” Salte said. “But in terms of how patients choose to self-medicate, self-diagnose or self-assess, that is really outside our authority.”

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The requirements include an assessment of the patient, a conclusion medical marijuana would be a beneficial treatment for the patient, specific record keeping and a treatment agreement.

“After marijuana becomes legalized for recreational purposes, if the patient seeks marijuana that is prescribed, the physician would still need to go over the same requirements as they exist right now,” Salte said.

Other concerns from physicians are around accessibility by younger generations, the effects of marijuana on the developing brain, as well as the possible connection between marijuana-use and schizophrenia.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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