A new study has found that most Canadians who need medical cannabis usually purchase their products from the recreational market instead of the medical system, which raises safety and health concerns. In Canada, medical marijuana can be accessed legally through a licensed marijuana seller by individuals who possess medical authorization, or a prescription.
The study involved 5,744 participants, making it one of the biggest surveys ever done on how Canadians accessed marijuana for medical purposes. It was conducted by a University of Manitoba researcher and completed in collaboration with patient groups SheCann Cannabis, Medical Cannabis Canada, McGill University and Santé Cannabis.
The study determined that more than one-half of those involved in the survey purchased their cannabis without prescriptions.
Associate professor and principal investigator of the study, Dr. Lynda Balneaves, stated that the findings showed that individuals who used marijuana without a medical prescription were 20% less likely to seek advice from health-care professionals as well as 14% more likely to not be aware of the amount of medical cannabis they were consuming.
They were also 27% more likely to use the illicit market to obtain the drugs, in comparison with those who possessed medical authorizations. Additionally, these individuals were 16% more likely to rely on unqualified and nonevidence-based sources of information as well as 7% more likely to experience side effects from the drugs they consumed.
Balneaves also discussed how individuals who lacked medical authorization had limited access to medical advice on things such as type of product and potency. This raises concerns about whether individuals were using medical cannabis effectively and safely and whether that cannabis use could potentially be harming their health.
She added that these individuals also faced financial barriers, noting that those with medical authorizations spent roughly 25% more on medical marijuana with under 6% receiving any insurance coverage for costs incurred. The survey also found that almost one-half of those who stopped using medical marijuana did so because they couldn’t cover the costs.
Medical Cannabis Canada board chair Max Monahan-Ellison stated that the Cannabis Act discouraged and penalized accessible and safe use for patients with medical authorization. He also noted that the organization’s data showed that patients accessing cannabis for medical purposes deserved more support.
Parties involved gave some recommendations based on the study’s findings, which include:
- Maintaining reasonable access to cannabis via a dedicated framework
- Developing, implementing and evaluating health-care professional education training, with a focus on medical cannabis
- Maintaining and amplifying a federal resource hub that offers updated, evidence-based resources and information about medical marijuana.
In the years to come, patients who require cannabis-based medicines may not have to take risks buying medicinal products from recreational use shops because entities such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are working to formulate treatments from THC and other cannabinoids with the aim of alleviating chronic pain and other symptoms.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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