"Other opi­ods are more im­por­tant"

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

WHO: Nagesh Simha, Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor, Karunashraya, Ben­galuru

WHAT: On July 30, Union Min­is­ter for Women and Child De­vel­op­ment Maneka Gandhi sug­gested le­gal­is­ing mar­i­juana, a psy­choac­tive drug, in In­dia for med­i­cal pur­poses on the lines of the prac­tice adopted by coun­tries like the US to curb drug abuse

WHY: "Med­i­cal mar­i­juana" is use­ful in spe­cific sit­u­a­tions in pal­lia­tive care. Th­ese in­clude nau­sea and vom­it­ing in cer­tain end-of-life sit­u­a­tions. It is espe­cially used in cer­tain cases of HIV-AIDS. Med­i­cal mar­i­juana is le­gal in some west­ern na­tions and some states of the United States of Amer­ica. But as far as In­dia is con­cerned, if it is pal­lia­tive care that we are af­ter, then mar­i­juana should not be such a pri­or­ity. Be­cause its range of use is very lim­ited. Ac­cord­ing to the rules of nat­u­ral jus­tice, it is in­cum­bent on us to rather make opi­oids like mor­phine more avail­able and ac­ces­si­ble since that is use­ful to more pa­tients. Use of med­i­cal mar­i­juana will take a very long time to get reg­u­larised in In­dia."

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