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Medical community weighs pros and cons of cannabis oil

Medical marijuana, In the form of cannabis oil, is on the list of fast track items for government.

It’s an about-face on the topic. Premier Alden McLaughlin cited “hope and compassion” in cabinet’s decision to push the issue. He announced during Monday’s (30 May) budget policy statement cabinet instructed a bill to be drafted allowing for doctors to prescribe cannabis oil.

It’s also a major talking point in the country.

One medical doctor says cannabis oil could bring with it pros and cons to weigh.

Doctors could soon be adding another treatment option to their medicine cabinets, one derived from the marijuana plant.

“The medical community is no stranger to having medications taken from plants. We use opioids, we use various medications for cancer treatment that come from plants,” said Dr. Dirk Belfonte

He told Cayman 27 cannabis has shown results when used to treat severe and end-stage cancers, glaucoma, and even autism.

“Autism is also one of the conditions, especially violent patients, who become very difficult to live with. We’ve seem anecdotal accounts of people who have been treated with medical marijuana and the symptoms have helped,” he explained.

On the other hand, he said cannabis oil presents some serious concerns.

“People are trying to get it and they’re trying to use it illegally as well, just as how people use opiate type medicines illegally, and they come to doctors wanting us to prescribe it,” he said.

Dr. Belfonte said delivery of marijuana in the form of cannabis oil has advantages over smoking the dried matter from the marijuana plant.

“If there’s a patient that’s having a problem, and we can deliver a medication safely and effectively to really ameliorate this persons symptoms or make this patient happier,” said Dr. Belfonte.  “I’m all for that. But I’m also a person that’s very focused on safety and quantifying drug delivery.”

He said with surety of dosage and strict guidelines, cannabis oil could help some patients that other drugs fail.

“I wouldn’t want to deliver any medication or give medication in a willy nilly or in a wanton fashion,”  said Dr. Belfonte. “I’d want to make sure we’ve tested it, and we can give it to the patient in a form that we feel is not unsafe, we don’t want to do any harm.”

The issue of medical marijuana has gained major traction in recent months, especially on social media.

Last October, Bodden Town MLA floated the idea of introducing a motion about medical marijuana on his Facebook page. It didn’t happen at the time, but it appears it helped galvanise a popular sentiment.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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