Article by Dan Thomson, Regina Leader-Post
While the industry is abuzz with the legalization of cannabis set for October 17, much attention is being paid to what government retail outlets will look like, and the products they will sell, along with the differences in legislation between provinces. However, what has been lost in the excitement is the value of Canada’s already existing medical framework, which has already provided support to close to 300,000 patients.
Canada’s ACMPR includes patients who suffer from chronic pain, mood disorders, PTSD, symptoms associated with cancer and chemotherapy, and many more conditions. Clinical research continues to pour into online databases supporting the treatment of a wide range of conditions, asserting that cannabis remains as a viable treatment option for patients that have exhausted other traditional medicine.
Upon the recreational legalization of cannabis, Canada stands to benefit from an extensive and expanded medical framework. Patients, working in tandem with healthcare practitioners, continue to need the support of professionals, and find guidance on their journey with cannabis.
The need for collaboration with healthcare professionals
The medical market for cannabis remains unique compared to the recreational market, and those considering abandoning the medical market post-legalization should use caution.
The therapeutic benefits of cannabis continue to be best communicated by a physician, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist rather than a “budtender.” Despite some perspectives suggesting that doctors don’t need to work alongside their patients who are medicating with cannabis, the conversation surrounding medical cannabis in Canada has just begun.
It would be highly problematic for Canadians to search out advice on how to medicate serious medical conditions with cannabis from those serving users at recreational dispensaries. These conversations need to be had in tandem with professionals. Taking doctors out of the cannabis conversation leaves new patients stranded, alone to search out information on cannabis from sources that cite anecdotal evidence or are rife with misinformation.