Internist says medical marijuana remains a debatable issue

Internist says medical marijuana remains a debatable issue

Medicinal marijuana remains illegal in Belize as the medical and dental association is yet to make a definitive decision on the matter.  With the recent event on edibles sold to children, and the discussion of marijuana legalization, the issue of medicinal marijuana has also come up.  In speaking with medical professional, Dr Fernando Cuellar, the issue of medicinal marijuana remains a debatable issue.

Dr.Fernando Cuellar, Internist: “There’s no legislation yet and that has been a debate among the association, the community of physicians where some say yes some say no and some quote religion in medicine and we have had this discussion over the past couple years and I think overall we come to – and if I remember well we had concluded that, really I don’t want to speak out of turn but I think we had said that we would in proper legislation yes agree to recreational marijuana but with some strict guidelines and that of course would be pushed back by who will really enforce these guidelines or is it possible to enforce these guidelines in Belize.”

Reporter: But like you said as well it would require  training.

Dr.Fernando Cuellar, Internist: “Oh yes I will be the first to stand in line to be trained because I don’t know.”

Reporter: So when somebody who is using marijuana presents a medical certificate or a prescription for medicinal marijuana that –

Dr.Fernando Cuellar, Internist: “That’s not valid in Belize. You don’t have any doctor that is licensed to prescribe marijuana you don’t have any pharmacy allowed to sell marijuana from a prescription and we know that because we get clients who come from abroad with these certificates and either they forget their stash or they run out or whatever and come and ask if we can help them and we can’t. We can’t from a legal basis or even a formal basis.”

If the decision is made to legalize medicinal marijuana, Dr Cuellar noted that medical professionals would have to be trained on the matter.

Dr.Fernando Cuellar, Internist: “I would tell you that I don’t know how to prescribe marijuana, I have never done it except smoked two joints because it helps with headaches and that kind of thing but from a real scientific I would have to be retrained and most physicians I think would have to be retrained to be able to properly prescribe the dose of THC that would be indicated in the patients.”

Back in 2021, the Belize Medical and Dental Association had issued a position paper on several aspects of marijuana in Belize.  As they relate to medicinal marijuana, the association noted that the results of a survey they had conducted, they found that less than 25 percent of physicians in Belize has agreed to the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.  It also noted that 75 percent agreed that the drug’s legalization for medicinal purposed could eventually be beneficial, but only if proper scientific data and guidelines are followed.  The position paper also noted that the association does not support the view that, “products from Cannabis Sativa authorized for leisurely use should be freely promoted as equally having medicinal value.”

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