Doctors Call for Increased Access to Cannabis for Palliative Care

Canadian doctors have come forward to say that the health care system isn’t looking seriously enough at using medical cannabis to offer pain relief to patients.

Palliative care patients are often restricted from using cannabis, due to difficulty for physicians to prescribe it and a lack of policies for the substance’s use in care facilities.

In an interview with CTV, Toronto palliative care specialist Dr. Vincent Maida said that due to ongoing stigmas most care centres depend on narcotics over cannabis, leading to these harder drugs finding their way onto the streets.

Cancer Care Manitoba palliative medicine consultant Dr. Paul Daeninck said cannabis’s ability to relive pain and increase appetite make it ideal for cancer patients and that he encounters many who are surprised when they learn it isn’t part of palliative care.

“I don’t think there are a large number of palliative care physicians who have the knowledge (about medical marijuana) who are open to sitting down and discussing it with patients,” he said. “When we have patients with hard-to-treat pain, we have to look at all the modalities we have available to us. Medical cannabis is one of those. So we have to broaden our knowledge and our attempts to help these patients.”