One in four medical cannabis patients in Canada say it is harder to access medical cannabis products since legalization took effect last year, according to a survey by Abacus Data commissioned by Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana and the Arthritis Society and the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

Of the 1,500 respondents, 39 percent indicated they are medical cannabis patients; compared to 45 percent who had never been a patient and 16 percent who are former patients. Just 19 percent of respondents who identified as patients said obtaining medical cannabis was easier since legalization, compared to 26 percent who said obtaining the products they need is harder, and 55 percent who indicated their access has remained the same.

The survey also found that 38 percent of medical cannabis users “heavily rely” on medical cannabis, along with other treatments, to deal with their symptoms; compared to 32 percent who “somewhat rely” on it and 30 percent who don’t rely on medical cannabis but it “helps with symptoms.” In all, 61 percent of medical cannabis users said they self-medicated, with the majority of patients using cannabis for pain (66 percent); insomnia and anxiety (58 percent); and general stress (51 percent).

Max Monahan-Ellison, vice president of CFAMM, said that in order to have an “effective medical system” for medical cannabis patients, “it needs to be more accessible.”

“This means treating cannabis like other medically authorized treatments by eliminating tax, improving insurance coverage and HCP training, providing convenient distribution through established medical systems like the pharmacy, and more.” — Monahan-Ellison in a statement

Patients also reported using cannabis for arthritis (33 percent); mental health conditions (22 percent); nausea (13 percent), eating disorders (9 percent); cancer (4 percent), multiple sclerosis (3 percent) and epilepsy (3 percent).

In all, 40 percent of patients surveyed said the cost of medical cannabis in Canada had increased either “somewhat” or “significantly” post-legalization, while 29 percent said the cost had remained the same and just 8 percent said the cost had decreased – 23 percent said they were unsure.


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