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Recent survey research I led for Medical Cannabis Canada patients reported continued barriers to the legal medical regime, including high prices, stigma from medical professionals and more. It’s no wonder the 2020 CCS reports just over 20 per cent of medical cannabis patients in Canada access the treatment with a medical document from a healthcare practitioner.
As many advocacy groups and the industry gear up for the monumental review of the Cannabis Act this year, which regulates recreational and medical cannabis, there are murmurs among the industry that the entire medical program could be folded when it’s dedicated review comes up in a few years.
From my perspective, this is concerning. Many patients are navigating chronic and serious conditions, multiple comorbidities and other medications, and further pushing them to manage their treatment outside of medical channels could put them at risk.
To better understand what the future of medical cannabis should look like in Canada, we need to take a step back and get a holistic look at what it looks like now.
While many in the sector, including myself, often use “medical cannabis patients” as a catch-all term for the patient community, they are a heterogeneous group that span genders, age, socioeconomic status, race, sexuality, and ability, and navigate conditions ranging from anxiety and problems sleeping, to chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and so much more.