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Canada Specific Healthcare Question 3
Discuss the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana on the Canadian Health Care system. How does this impact a physician’s present ability to write out a prescription for ‘medical marijuana’?
When discussing the debate on whether to legalise marijuana, both the recreational and medical uses must be considered. There are beneficial effects of this drug that have the potential to aid in the treatment of chronic debilitating health conditions; for example, it has been shown to reduce seizures in children with certain types of epilepsy in particular, as well as being able to treat neuropathic pain such as in multiple sclerosis. In addition to its physical health benefits, marijuana has been shown to ease anxiety symptoms by providing a temporary feeling of happiness and relaxation, with there also being theories of it being able to improve concentration and aid in learning.
However, it must be emphasised that many of these supposed advantages are hypothetical and based on individual cases, and thus may not apply to or benefit all patients. Furthermore, if not monitored correctly, there is the possibility of this drug doing more harm than good. As well as the prevalent issue of the high risk of addiction and thus consequent withdrawal symptoms, marijuana has been shown to increase the risk of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, especially in young people. The high level of uncertainty regarding the supposed benefits of this drug would make it difficult for physicians to prescribe it for medical use, as its legalisation would naturally increase its national usage and potentially facilitate the lethal effects of using it to too great an extent.