Vincent Maida, MD, wants to be clear: He’s not some “hippie pothead.” But about 20 years ago, the Toronto-based palliative care physician realized that cannabis was worth taking seriously. At the time, cannabis — also known as marijuana — was not legal in Canada (or the United States). But, increasingly, he found his patients confiding in him about using it.
“They would say, ‘I’ve gone to my oncologist, they’ve given me all the [legal] drugs, but I’m still having pain, nausea, and vomiting. My friend got me some stuff from the local drug dealer, and it made me feel better,'” says Dr. Maida, who is an associate professor of palliative medicine at the University of Toronto. “I’ve heard that story hundreds of times.”
Although there may be a number of medical uses for cannabis, Maida says it’s especially beneficial for cancer patients and that it should be incorporated into their treatment regimen.