The California Medical Association's Council on Scientific and Clinical Affairs has issued recommendations on the medicinal use of cannabis to help ensure that the substance is being used for appropriate purposes. The council hopes that these guidelines, "Guidelines of the Council on Scientific Affairs: Physician Recommendation of Medical Cannabis," will help to clarify many myths and misconceptions about the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Based on a review of available research, it is the opinion of the CMA Council on Scientific and Clinical Affairs that medical cannabis may be effective for treatment of nausea, anorexia, pain and other conditions (i.e., spasticity), but that more clinical research is needed regarding specific indications, dosing, and the management of side effects.
Although California voters legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 1996, the council believes that legislative decision-making is a poor alternative to scientific analysis in deciding whether or not cannabis is an appropriate pharmaceutical agent and that additional scientific and clinical research is needed to evaluate cannabinoids as medical agents. The council also recommends that regulation of dispensaries and physicians who recommend medical cannabis remain a long-term goal to prevent the improper use of cannabis. Additionally, the council believes that health care providers who recommend cannabis should be subject to regulatory oversight to optimize patient safety and well-being and, potentially, to prevent diversion of medical cannabis to recreational users.
CMA believes that these guidelines will be a valuable and succinct resource for practicing physicians who wish to respond appropriately to patients who request recommendations for medical cannabis treatment. The guidelines are available in CMA's online resource library.
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