Now that recreational cannabis is legal in Canada, half of the people I know seem to be taking commercially available CBD oil or THC preparations for everything from chronic pain to sleep.
But is there any solid scientific evidence behind using these cannabis components for such conditions?
When I went digging into that question for a Good Times health feature prior to legalization, the answer I found was, ‘not a lot.’
That said, decriminalization made it much more feasible for scientists to start conducting more research into medical uses for marijuana products. And no doubt Canadians will begin to benefit from that over the next few years. (In the meantime, it’s still advisable to consult a medical professional with experience prescribing cannabis before trying to self-treat. For one thing, cannabis products — like any other medications — can cause adverse side-effects, particularly in people with certain health conditions.)
For a deeper dive, I’d recommend checking out the resources listed below.
A heart-felt thank-you to the interviewees who so generously shared their time and expertise:
- Dr. Mike Allan, director of programs and practice support at the College of Family Physicians of Canada; professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and a member of PEER (Patients Experience Evidence and Research).
- Dr. Jason Busse, PhD, associate director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
- Dr. David Conn, VP of education and inaugural director of the Centre for Education and Knowledge Exchange in Aging at Baycrest Health Sciences, and a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
As part of my background research, I also listened to a podcast interview with Dr. Claude Cyr, a Montreal family physician and founder of Doctors for Responsible Access, a not-for-profit association of doctors and nurse-practitioners. The podcast in question is The Mindspace Podcast, and it’s hosted by Dr. Joe Flanders, PhD, a Montreal psychologist, and founder and director of the Mindspace Wellbeing Clinic. There are several episodes on different aspects of medical cannabis use featuring Dr. Cyr.