What would it look like if we were serious about marijuana as medicine?

Marijuana AdvertisingIt might look something like this:

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC) have launched a registry for users of medical cannabis in Quebec that will allow physicians to better manage its use and monitor patient safety. This innovative project represents the world’s first research database on the use of cannabis for medical purposes and places the province at the forefront of research in the field of medical cannabis. The registry was launched in response to a call by the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) for guidelines on the use of medical cannabis in accordance with new government regulations. As of April 1, 2014, cannabis can only be prescribed “within a research framework,” as it is not a medically recognized treatment.

“This registry has been developed to address the lack of research data on the safety and efficacy of cannabis,” states principal investigator Dr. Mark Ware, Director of Clinical Research of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the MUHC and associate professor in Family Medicine and Anesthesia at McGill University. “We need this database to help develop and answer future questions on the medical use of cannabis, such as who uses it, for what reasons, through which methods, and at what dose.”

The Quebec Cannabis Registry will be used to compile and store clinical data collected directly from patients who use medical marijuana. The data will be gathered from sites and clinics across Quebec, and each participant will provide data for four years after recruitment. Any licensed doctor practising in the province wishing to authorise cannabis for their adult patients can enrol participants in the registry.

What does the absence of this kind of model say about “medical” marijuana?


Medical marijuana activists don’t want a registry or physicians as gatekeepers. (Despite the argument that it’s similar to a sex offender registry, medical registries are widely used.)

And, the Quebec College of Physicians (QCP) has taken the position that marijuana is not a recognized medicine and physicians should not prescribe it. (Keep in mind that there will be physicians who don’t care what the QCP says.)

What should we infer from this?