India’s doctors weigh in: People in pain need more morphine, not medical marijuana

Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi suggested legalising marijuana for medical purposes at a meeting of a group of ministers examining the draft cabinet note on the National Policy for Drug Demand Reduction earlier this last week. However, several doctors working in palliative care say that they would rather see the government ensure a better supply of opioid drugs, the medical use of which is already permitted.

Marijuana is a cannabinoid obtained from the cannabis plant. Both cannabinoids and opiods—such as morphine and oxycodone—help in reducing severe pain, such as pain that patients with cancer and multiple sclerosis experience. But opiods and cannabinoids operate differently in the human body and have different receptors in the brain.

“Marijuana is a form of cannabinoids that have tetrahydrocannabinol compounds and other compounds structurally similar to it,” said MR Rajgopal, chairman of Pallium India and Director of the World Health

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