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Physician sees abuse potential

Posted On: Jun. 4, 2018 12:00 AM CST

The addiction potential of marijuana is unknown, but abuse of the drug could be inevitable, according to one medical professional.

Dr. Mara Bilibajkich practices family medicine in Windsor, Ontario, and has been prescribing marijuana for chronic pain patients for nearly two years. A latecomer to its use, as Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2001, Dr. Bilibajkich said most patients come to her because they want to wean off of opioids.

“There is a growing trend to get away from pharmaceuticals and go for something natural,” she said.

But the proper dosage at which marijuana can alleviate pain remains uncertain, she said.

“My goal as a physician is to get the lowest dose to provide systematic relief,” she said.

Many of her patients get relief from nonpsychedelic cannabinoid — a derivative of cannabis that does not cause one to feel the euphoric high of marijuana.

“The increase in quality of life and function is the goal,” she said.

But people may get hooked on marijuana — a major problem already experienced with opioids, she said.

“You are always going to get those people who do that with opioids,” she said. “That it doesn’t matter what medication you give them. There will always be people abusing it and there is nothing you can do to stop it.”