Medical Marijuana Prescription Rate Soaring in Canada

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Marijuana is pictured in a vending machine at the BC Pain Society in Vancouver, B.C. Nearly 130,000 Canadians signed up with country’s 38 licensed cannabis producers, a 32 per cent jump since September

The number of Canadians registered to purchase medical marijuana from licensed producers has exploded since the federal commercial-access program was introduced almost four years ago, reaching nearly 130,000 by the end of last year, the most recent Heath Canada figures show.

As of Dec. 31, 129,876 Canadians had signed up with the country’s cannabis producers, a 32 per cent jump from the 98,460 registered at the end of September and a whopping 1,544 per cent increase from the 7,900 granted access to medicinal cannabis in mid-2014.

But the surge in demand has many wondering if all these patients have a legitimate medical need for the drug. Or are some people using the system to acquire recreational pot before it is legalized, as the Liberal government has promised to do this spring?

Dr. John Goodhew, a family practitioner in downtown Toronto who supports the use of therapeutic cannabis for specific conditions, said he’s seen a definite uptick in patients seeking prescriptions.

Because Goodhew has become known as one of a minority of doctors who will prescribe medical marijuana, he has patients from all over Ontario contacting him.

“So patients will frequently call me and I’m not able to help them because I only consider marijuana as a therapeutic agent for people in my practice, people that I know, people whose medical histories I’m familiar with,” he said Thursday.

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