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Doctor reveals facts regarding marijuana

2/4/2012

One clinical pharmacologist is looking to clear up many misconceptions about the highly pervasive marijuana plant.

Dr. Kenneth Connell is one of only three in his field currently residing in the region and was recently a guest panellist on the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) public forum entitled, “Marijuana: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” held last Tuesday at the Steel Shed in Queens Park.

In an interview with the Barbados Advocate, he explained that Clinical pharmacology was a speciality of internal medicine and unlike basic pharmacology, it dealt with the use of drugs in humans, outlining that once a drug had been approved in a clinical trial and was being used routinely, the clinical pharmacologist would be actively involved.

He added that the topic of marijuana was quite pertinent to clinical pharmacologists as it allowed them to look at the use of the drug in humans and the effects which that drug might have on health and what possible benefits might be derived from it.
Dr Connell made the distinction of marijuana as a group of drugs rather than the frequently held belief as the plant being solely one substance.

He said, “The marijuana plant is a group of over 400 drugs. Many persons refer to marijuana as a single drug, but it is akin to putting a large set of drugs into one basket and trying to identify the effects of one.”

He admitted that there were some constituents within the marijuana plant that had shown in recent years to contain benefits in small very limited studies such as the study conducted in Jamaica on its effects on glaucoma, the drug which was later patented as Canasol for use in glaucoma which he described as a health concern in Barbados. He however warned that despite the benefits found in the study that was not a licence to use the herb indiscriminately.

He said, “It would appear that the preliminary literature was a lot more promising than it seems long-term studies are showing. Although this is a component of marijuana, it is not to say that the marijuana plant in itself, would have similar benefits without risks.” (JM)

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