Researchers from the western Canadian city of Edmonton have issued new guidelines for doctors to follow when prescribing medical marijuana to their patients.
The researchers caution that the benefits of medical cannabis are rather overstated, CBC News reported.
The new protocol, published in the Canadian Family Physician journal, says there is no extensive research to prove marijuana’s medicinal properties.
“While enthusiasm for medical marijuana is very strong among some people, good quality research has not caught up,” Dr. Mike Allan, the director of evidence-based medicine at the University of Alberta, said in a statement.
Allan admits that there is research that backs the use of medical cannabinoids. However, the green crop only treats a handful of specific medical conditions, such as nerve pain, palliative cancer pain, muscle tightness associated with multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury, and nausea from chemotherapy.
But even for these cases, Allan says the benefits are minor.
Allan said Canadian doctors should think twice before prescribing cannabis-based drugs.
The doctor also criticized studies on marijuana. He said these studies are randomized, extremely small and poorly executed.
“In general, we’re talking about one study, and often very poorly done,” Allan said in a statement.
“For example, there are no studies for the treatment of depression.”
He even dubbed one study on anxiety as unscientific.
Based on a review of clinical trials using medical cannabis, the new guidelines will be circulated to 30,000 physicians across Canada.
In the new law governing marijuana in Canada, medical cannabis will be taxed similarly to its recreational counterpart. This has prompted Canadian patients, who use medical cannabis, to protest against what they called as the “sin tax.”
This summer, Canada is expected to be the first developed nation to legalize marijuana.