The author of the article comes to the conservative conclusion that doctors should prescribe cannabis medicinally only when all other treatment options (including the much more dangerous oxycodone) have failed. This might seem contradictory. If cannabinoids should prove as effective in some situations as opioids they would be drugs of first rather than last resort.

But it is unlikely in any case that all doctors will remain conservative for long or will prescribe cannabinoids only as a last resort. In Britain in the 1950s doctors were permitted to prescribe heroin for heroin addicts. A very small number of them began, either for payment or because they believed that the “recreational” use of heroin was harmless or even a human right, to prescribe very liberally. The number of addicts increased very quickly, but whether it would have done so anyway is now impossible to say.

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Images courtesy shutterstock / Andre Blais / Andre Blais / 

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