Govt Must Listen To Medical Profession on Marijuana

Media Release 20 December 2017
Family First NZ says that any legislation on medicinal marijuana should be based on legitimate and responsible scientific research on the potential benefits and risk of medical cannabis. Family First has also released a Briefing Paper on the issue.

“We support a cautious and researched approach around this issue, and we also support a compassionate response to those in real need. But we also need to say no to ‘medicinal marijuana’, and yes to ‘medicinal cannabinoids’ products,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Ultimately, the medical profession should be dictating the direction of this debate, not politicians, an anecdotal-wielding lobby, and marijuana advocates with a hidden agenda.”

“The push for medicinal cannabis appears to be driven more by popular demand and pro-recreational cannabis law reform advocacy than by medical science… The framework for the approach to medicinal cannabis should be consistent with that for medicines, and kept separate from debate about the legal status of cannabis for recreational use. Doctors should not be enablers for the recreational use of cannabis… Given the possible harms associated with smoking cannabis and the availability of other modes of administration, it is difficult to justify a place for smoked cannabis as a medicine.”   New Zealand Medical Association (November 2017)

“The RACP holds that any access to prescribed medicinal cannabis should be under a very restrictive framework, due to the poor body of data indicating any efficacy, safety or cost efficacy for medicinal cannabis for any indication. Drug diversion and minimising risks of harm (especially in young people), are managed best when access is tightly controlled. Prescription of therapeutics should be evidence based. Given the absence of robust evidence supporting the use of medicinal cannabis, any prescribed medicinal cannabis data under the proposed framework should be collected via clinical trials, registry or otherwise to expand the evidence of medicinal cannabis applications.” The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
(representing 25,000 medical specialists in Australia & NZ)

“Kiwis could be forgiven for thinking cannabis is one such wonder cure as we see and hear very little about its risks and negative effects. This is a gross misrepresentation of the medicinal value of the substance… Underpinning all of this, is the paradox that New Zealand finds itself in right now. How can we tout “Smokefree 2025” while we discuss legalising an inhaled product with more than 100 harmful substances?” Dr Stephen Child, past chair of NZMA

“There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder.” American Psychiatric Association

“ASAM asserts that cannabis, cannabis-based products and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards that are applicable to other prescription medications and medical devices, and that these products should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients unless and until such products or devices have received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration. ASAM rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery since it is not safe.” American Society of Addiction Medicine

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)… opposes the smoking or vaping of marijuana and other cannabinoids in public places because the carcinogens in marijuana smoke pose numerous health hazards to the patient and others in the patient’s presence.American Cancer Society

Smoked cannabis research studies have not produced enough evidence to assess its safety or effectiveness for treating MS symptoms including spasticity, pain, balance, posture and cognition changes.” National Multiple Sclerosis Society

“The AAP opposes medical marijuana outside of the usual process by the Food and Drug Administration to approve pharmaceutical products. Only limited research has been conducted on medical marijuana for adults, and there have been no published studies of cannabinoids — either in the form of marijuana or other preparations — that involve children.The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

The AMA has called for more research on the subject, with the caveat that this “should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product.” The American Medical Association (AMA)

“In the absence of credible data, this debate is being dominated by bad science and misinformation from people interested in using medical marijuana as a step to legalization for recreational use… Young people, who are clearly being targeted with medical marijuana advertising and diversion, are most vulnerable to developing marijuana addiction and suffering from its lasting effects.”
Dr. Christian Thurstone, a psychiatrist board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry, who serves as an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and as medical director of one of Colorado’s largest adolescent substance-abuse-treatment programs

“More research is needed on the basic neuropharmacology of THC and other cannabinoids so that better therapeutic agents can be found.” World Health Organization

“There is a critical need for robust research on herbal cannabis to identify targets for medical development.”  American Pain Society

“The AAFP recognizes that there is support for the medical use of marijuana but advocates that usage be based on high quality, patient-centered, evidence-based research and advocates for further studies into the use of medical marijuana and related compounds… The AAFP also recognizes that some states have passed laws approving the medical use of marijuana; the AAFP does not endorse such laws.” American Academy of Family Physicians

Briefing Paper (includes reference notes for quotes)

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