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New guideline recommends doctors avoid prescribing medical marijuana for most conditions

THE CANADIAN PRESS

In this file photo, a clinic supervisor at Bodystream Medical Marijuana Services talks to a reporter on Tuesday November 15, 2016 in Peterborough, Ont. Clifford Skarstedt/The Examiner/Postmedia Network

In this file photo, a clinic supervisor at Bodystream Medical Marijuana Services talks to a reporter on Tuesday November 15, 2016 in Peterborough, Ont. Clifford Skarstedt/The Examiner/Postmedia Network

EDMONTON -- A new medical guideline suggests family doctors should think twice before prescribing medical marijuana to their patients.

The Simplified Guideline for Prescribing Medical Cannabinoids in Primary Care says there is limited evidence to support the reported benefits of medical marijuana for many conditions.

"Although cannabinoids have been promoted for an array of medical conditions, the evidence base is challenged by bias and a lack of high-level research. " - Medical cannabinoids guideline

It adds that any benefit could be balanced or even outweighed by the potential harm.

Read the full guidelines here:

The guideline was created by a committee of 10 researchers after an in-depth review of clinical trials and was peer reviewed by 40 others.

It looked at medical marijuana for treatment of pain, muscle tightness and stiffness, nausea and vomiting, as well as its side effects.

"We recommend against use of medical cannabinoids for most medical conditions owing to lack of evidence of benefit and known harms." - Medical cannabinoids guideline

The guideline, published today in the medical journal Canadian Family Physician, will be distributed to about 30,000 doctors across Canada.

"While enthusiasm for medical marijuana is very strong among some people, good-quality research has not caught up," Mike Allan, director of evidence-based medicine at the University of Alberta who led the guideline project, said in a release.



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