According to several doctors that work in palliative care in India, opioid drugs are more welcome than marijuana is.

These doctors have said that they would rather see the government insure the supply of opioid drugs after development minister Maneka Gandhi, suggested legalizing medicinal cannabis at a meeting of a group of ministers examining the draft cabinet note on the National Policy for Drug Demand Reduction recently.

While both marijuana (as a cannabinoid) and opiods are able reduce pain, the way they operate in the body are different.

“Marijuana is a form of cannabinoids that have tetrahydrocannabinol compounds and other compounds structurally similar to it,” explained MR Rajgopal.

Rajgopal is the chairman of Pallium India and Director of the World Health Organisation collaborating centre for access to pain relief for southeast Asia.

“These cannabinoids can help only a small number of patients who have specific kind of nerve pain,” he remarked.

Rajagopal believes that only opioids can help the majority of patients needing pain relief.

“Legalising marijuana is not going to change anything for palliative care in India.

The demand for legalising marijuana has not come from the palliative community in India.”

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