Dr. Mark Ware Thoughts On Cannabis As Medicine
[Dr. Mark Ware Discussing his thoughts on Cannabis as Medicine]
Transcript: I first became familiar with about 10 years ago, when I beginning to explore the area of medical cannabis research, writing up grants, doing interviews with patients and beginning to explore this. I became aware that there was this conference being held at I think at the University of Iowa the first one, I didn’t have any funding to get there. So I called them up and I said, is there a video link up, is there some way I can dial into this to watch it from Montreal where I was based. I was able to speak to McGill, and they lent me a room, a video screen and a projector. I watched the whole thing sitting a room, there were three or four of us sitting this room and watched the whole congress. I was amazed in the level of science, and the stories, the patient involvement. What I really liked was the patient involvement.
Even today when I gave my talk, I ask the room how many people were patients in the room, and over half the room was patients. Most of the talks that I do, are working with the physicians and scientists. Its really rewarding to speak to patients, meet them afterward and interact and see the level of interest they have in getting that knowledge.
I respect the work Al and Mary are doing to keep that patient presence alive through all of this. I think its motivated by the fact that the very first patient, who told me that he used cannabis for medical purposes, looked me in the eye and told me that. It struck me, and I thought wow, OK, and I believed him. I as I said earlier its still something where I believe strongly, that we have to listen to that voice. I think for a long time the medical profession has preached, this is what we think is right for you. Here we have for various reasons, political, legal, whatever, a position where patients have come forward saying, this is working for me. Hearing those voices, hearing that, knowing there is a bit of a barrier to the science, but knowing that it is overcome able, we can do it.
That motivates me. And knowing at the end of the day, a patient who has struggled with their physician, struggled with their family members, because they perceive this is drug abuse, or a substance they are worried about. If they feel somehow legitimized by the fact there are doctors and scientists who are studying this, and feel that it is a potentially useful therapy. If they feel reassured, if the family says OK, well maybe its OK, and then I think we have done a good service.
For more on the video series, here are links to part one and two:
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.
In the past 10 years Dr. Ware has given numerous lectures across Canada on pain to health care practitioners and the public. He teaches pain medicine and integrative medicine to medical students at McGill and was recently appointed as a McGill Teaching Scholar to coordinate pain education in the medical school curriculum.
Dr. Ware’s primary research interests are in evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medicines derived from cannabis (cannabinoids), population-based studies of the impact of pain on the population, and complementary therapies in pain and symptom management.