Dr. Mark Ware Discusses Cannabis As Medicine – Part One
Dr. Mark A. Ware MBBS MRCP (UK) is a family physician and Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Anesthesia at McGill University. He is the Director of Clinical Research of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the McGill University Health Centre, co-Director of the Quebec Pain Research Network, and Executive Director of the non-profit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids. He practices pain medicine at the Montreal General Hospital.
Transcript: I think that as we accept the medical utility of cannabis. We are going to start to dig more deeply in to the cannabinoids the key constituents of the marijuana plant that are providing this benefit. From a pharmaceutical company perspective, I think there is going to be an interest in trying to isolate those compounds or trying to work within the endogenous cannabinoids system that system of cannabinoids, which is functioning within all of us all the time with, out any external influence. Trying to target that with medications that can up regulate the level of cannabinoids in our bodies can eliminate the break down of cannabinoids.
So perhaps getting a cannabinoid effect without really taking in a cannabinoid but by enhancing our own endogenous levels. So I think that is one area the pharmaceutical industry is going to be taking. I think another area is trying to improve the over all quality and regulation of herbal cannabis. Because there are of patients who realize this is an effective way for them. I think if we can do larger studies of safety and we can be really reassured that over the long term this is a safe medication. If quality issues can be resolved, so we know exactly where it comes from, the THC and cannabinoid levels of the plant, we can be reassured the levels of other agents is non toxic, and we can be reassured the quality of the plant product is safe.
Then its going to be a question of supply, a question of monitoring, it s going to be a question of regulating the process so that physicians are comfortable participating in this. Right now as I understand it, in Canada and in the US it is very much a program of physicians authorizing patients to possess of the drug. Its not prescription drug marijuana. The cannabinoids are and there are several prescription cannabinoids not many physicians even realize these even exist.
Lots of work there.
To take the drug from an authorized non-approved substance to a prescription medication requires clinical trials, research and so on. I dont know how realistic it is, but I think my vision would be that somebody will come along and invest in that process. Especially if as I see happening at this moment in April of 2010, considerable numbers of dispensaries opening up, considerable money going through these processes, there must be considerable profits being generated. That should be funneled back into research and education so that the whole field moves forward and upwards. Rather than grab the money and run.
We’ve all come to this through a process of slow realization and research and I think we owe it to keep funneling that. So if herbal cannabis is ever become a prescription medication, someone is going to have to step up and invest in the kind of research to do that.