The California Medical Association (CMA) has officially announced its new policy on cannabis and recommends legalization.
Their decision was taken after a white paper concluded that physicians need to have better access to research and information that is simply not possible under the existing policy.
James T. Hay, M.D., CMA President-Elect confirmed :
"CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position, but we won't be the last. This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds ... As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients."
The problem doctors face with Cannabis being in a gray area in California is that they are the ones that have to recommend use of cannabis and marijuana to patients, and yet lack proper guidelines, research, medical precedents and to further complicate matters there is no quality control and not even a stated dose or strength of the various products provided to patients. Not only does this mean that there is no standard of use or prescription, it leaves doctors with potential legal liabilities.
Paul Phinney, M.D., CMA Board Chair clarified :
"We need to regulate cannabis so that we know what we're recommending to our patients ... Currently, medical and recreational cannabis have no mandatory labeling standards of concentration or purity. First, we've got to legalize it so that we can properly study and regulate it."
Whilst California has decriminalized marijuana seeing that policy as the only sensible way to tackle widespread use and possible medical benefits, cutting law enforcement and court costs, and preventing pointless arrests, on a Federal level the herb is still illegal meaning that research, testing, clinical trials and even possession and supply of the drug is highly restricted.
Dustin Corcoran, CMA Chief Executive Officer concluded :
"Our physicians have looked at this issue closely and carefully over a significant period of time ... after months of research and collaboration, they have chosen to adopt this forward thinking, medically sound policy that will only further their ability to properly treat patients."
Written by Rupert Shepherd