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article imageHow Canada’s adult use legalization has affected patients

By Karen Graham     Jul 8, 2019 in Business
One in four respondents to a recent survey of Canadian medical cannabis patients say that access has become more difficult since the country legalized adult-use marijuana in 2018.
A recent survey, commissioned by Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), the Arthritis Society and the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), brings to light some of the effects of legalization on patients.
The compilation of three separate online surveys of 2,319 Canadian residents aged 18 and over that included nearly 1,000 medical cannabis users highlights some of the challenges, gaps and barriers patients are facing, both in terms of access and support from the health care system.
“The reality is that since legalization it has become easier for recreational users to purchase cannabis than it is for patients to access it through the long-established medical cannabis stream,” the organizations said in a statement, citing supply issues and high costs to obtain medical cannabis.
Access to medical cannabis
Medical marijuana users cited the difficulty in accessing the cannabis they need. Since legalization in October 2018, it has become easier for recreational users to purchase cannabis than it is for patients to access it through the long-established medical cannabis system.
The bud of a Cannabis sativa flower coated with trichomes bearing cannabidiol and other cannabinoids...
The bud of a Cannabis sativa flower coated with trichomes bearing cannabidiol and other cannabinoids.
Psychonaught via Wikimedia
Adding to the problem has been supply issues, primarily shortages, and the cost of the cannabis products. A combination of these factors has led to 64 percent of patients under-dosing in order to stretch out their supply.
Although 83 percent of Canadians believe cannabis is a legitimate medication to treat physical pain and mental conditions, only 39 percent of medical cannabis users had a medical document from their physician to obtain medical cannabis. When asked, "How much, if you had to average out for a typical month, would you say you spend on cannabis per month?" - the average was $173.25 per month, with Alberta medical cannabis users spending an average of $232.35 a month.
As for where cannabis patients were getting their medical marijuana, it was about nearly equally divided between licensed producers (38 percent) and through the illicit market (37 percent).
The bottom line is this - "Many patients are now purchasing cannabis from recreational outlets or from the illegal black market, and getting health advice from unregulated sources," according to the survey.
More about Canada, Medical cannabis, adult use, licensed producers, illegal market
 
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