How Are Canadian Patients Using Medical Cannabis?

Next year, Canada will be the second country to legalize recreational marijuana, and the first large nation to fully embrace the plant. This is already setting huge precedent for other large countries. It puts a push on the USA to decriminalize marijuana and to get moving to full legalization, and encourages other nations to do the same. The benefits of marijuana are astounding and it also has overwhelmingly positive effects for the economy, in terms of both states finances and local businesses. When the situation arise next year whereby cannabis is legal in Canada and illegal at the Federal level in the USA, it could lead to many messy legal conflicts. It has already happened in the past that medical cannabis users in Canada have been deported and banned from the USA for admitting to using a drug that is legal in their own country. From a US government standpoint, all Canadian cannabis users are felons who are not allowed to enter the country.

Canadians and Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for quite some time. But it is interesting to observe how Canadian medical patients are actually using marijuana. It is obvious at this stage that many simply want to use medical cannabis for recreational purposes and where there is a will, there’s a way. There are of course ways around this everywhere, and the obvious and simple solution is to simply legalize cannabis, as it would render the black market obsolete, increase social, mental and emotional wellbeing of citizens and also lead to an increase in state and local finances. The decision remains up to the US Federal government.

Canadian Marijuana Research Study

But it is interesting to observe how Canadians actually use their medical cannabis. How exactly are Canadian patients taking cannabis, how often and in what form? A new study led by PHD Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access for Tilrayprovides some insight to these questions. A total of 2032 patients were tracked across Canada. Medical marijuana patients who responded to the survey were 40 years old on average, and men outnumbered women almost two to one. About one in five of people surveyed (22%) had private insurance, but just 3% had financial assistance to help defray the cost of their medical cannabis prescription. Respondents were more or less evenly split on preferences for Indica, Sativa and hybrid, as well as users with no preferences between the 3. Surprisingly, high CBD strains were favored by less than 15% of those surveyed. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound which has many beneficial effects of THC yet none of the exciting euphoric effects, with little stimulation. It seems that many prefer cannabis for the psychoactive THC effects. But for those who were interested in extracts and compounds, high CBD strains were quite popular, as these are people who look for purely medical effects as opposed to highs.

Nearly 70% of users stated that they had substituted medical cannabis for a previously prescribed form of medication. The leading substances that medical cannabis replaced included Opioids (36%), and antidepressants (21%), as well other pain medications following close behind. This would seem to dispel the cannabis myth long perpetuated by politicians that cannabis would act as a gateway for other drugs, when in fact it seems to be a gateway away from more dangerous drugs. The study states that:

“In 610 mentions of opioid medication, 59% of patients stopped using these painkillers completely, and another 18% cut their consumption to a quarter or less. This suggests that cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis”

The findings that marijuana leads to less opioid use mimics the findings of many other studies. The study also found that the two main medical conditions driving people to medical marijuana were chronic pain and mental health issues. The most popular way to inhale marijuana still remains the classic joint, and the amount of marijuana ingested is far less than what might be conventionally thought, around 1.5 grams a day. While traditional flower is the most popular form of cannabis, there is a rise of alternative methods which are on the way with increased legalization. Juicing is the least popular method of cannabis consumption, along with topicals and oils.

The Findings Summarized.

The most telling finding is that marijuana use results in a reduction of Opiate addiction and pain killers. Given the Opioid crisis in the USA, this is another boon for marijuana legalization, and it seems to almost be a cure all once taken responsibly and in moderation. One possible area of concern is the number of toxins and chemicals sprayed into corporate marijuana with mass legalization. Once money comes into the equation the whole thing is going to get quite polluted, and in these instances only go with organic, premium grade marijuana or marijuana that is lab tested. Getting conventional marijuana from the store is a recipe for disaster, despite all the benefits of marijuana.


Geez, there seem to be a lot of people named Ann who write marijuana blogs. Well, that’s my name too, and when I asked my mom why she decided to give me such a mundane label she explained that the name Ann meant God has favored me. My name took on a whole new significance and I no longer thought it boring. And God has favored me – he gave me the gift of the gab and he smiled his approval when I decided to move to San Francisco. I love this city, I love the people, and most of all I love writing about marijuana.

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