New Study Confirms What We Know: Medical Cannabis Patients Need the Support of Healthcare Providers
Karen Berger, PharmD, Medical Writer
Do you use cannabis as medicine, for a medical condition like PTSD, pain, or anxiety? Or do you use it recreationally? Either way, you may want to read the results of a new Canadian study published on October 15.
Medical Cannabis Canada (MCC) announced the results of its first Medical Cannabis Patient Survey (MCPS). The study found that “systemic barriers in the legal medical cannabis system are pushing patients to unregulated and recreational markets without the support of a healthcare professional.”1
MCC is a non-profit patient advocacy organization. MCC was founded in 2014 and has over 16,000 people in its network. Their mission is to “advance the outcomes of all medical cannabis patients and ensure they can access their treatment safely, equitably, and with the support of health care professionals.”1
Cannabis is legal for medical or recreational use in Canada. The medical cannabis program requires a “medical document” (similar to a prescription) from a healthcare provider. The MCPS found that only 37% of medical marijuana patients have a document, which is “concerning since patients without a medical document report substantially less engagement with health care professionals and more report use of unregulated markets to access their treatment.”1
MCPS results showed that 74% of patients with a medical document go to a healthcare professional for guidance on cannabis use. Only 24% of patients without a document consult a healthcare professional. “This confirms that most patients are self-medicating without expert support.”1
Max Monahan-Ellison, Medical Cannabis Canada Board Member and MCPS Project Lead, states, “It is essential for Canadians to have access to support from health care professionals to help them navigate medical cannabis safely and effectively. Unfortunately, there is little incentive to access a medical document or use the legal medical channel and many are being left to manage their treatment alone.”
Some statistics from the study:
83 percent of patients feel a stigma from healthcare providers around cannabis use
57 percent of patients have a difficult time finding a healthcare provider to talk to about obtaining a medical document
60 percent of patients find the regulated market to be too challenging, and instead access cannabis from the unregulated market. Challenges include cost (the most significant barrier), barriers to obtaining a medical document, and difficulty navigating the system.
Most patients reported obtaining cannabis from the recreational market: 24 percent from an unregulated dispensary and 33 percent through a family, friend, or dealer.
Although 25 percent of patients found that using medical cannabis decreased opioid use, but 36 percent of patients reported returning to opioids due to the above-mentioned barriers.
These survey results confirm what the MyCureAll team has identified by talking with many medical cannabis patients and providers. By making it easier for patients to access medical cannabis, patients can have a positive, no-stress experience throughout the process.
Imagine that instead of struggling to navigate the system, the entire process was seamless. MyCureAll is working on this.
Through our app, you can find a provider that participates in the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program (NJMMP). Trying a new strain? Our Canna-Measure tool can help you match strains to your conditions and identify how much they help your symptoms.
Then, you can find a dispensary that carries the strains that work best for your conditions. Our unique app saves all of your data for future retrieval in a HIPAA-compliant manner, so privacy is never a concern. Also, we are working on getting medical cannabis covered by insurance because cannabis IS medicine!
MyCureAll is here to help patients get the medical cannabis they need, in the easiest and most convenient way. Contact us, and let us know how we can help you.
The MyCureAll app provides a platform for targeted cannabis recommendations for cannabinoids that treat specific conditions and lower healthcare costs. As experts in the pharmaceutical and medical cannabis field, our mission is to properly, consistently, and effectively manage medical cannabis administration by aligning patients, doctors, dispensaries, and insurers to work hand-in-hand for safer and more effective healthcare.
We promise to provide our patients with the highest ethical level of care. We will never charge patients for our services, and we will fight the insurance companies for you! We are on your side.