The Rec Effect: How Legalization Affects Medical Cannabis Users
Education and Advocacy Recreational legalization is almost here, and many patients are wondering, "how will this affect me?" GrowWise Health has some insights.
As many await the debut of legalized cannabis for adult use in Canada, others are left to wonder how this change will affect their lives and, more importantly, their health. A growing number of Canadians have come to rely on medical cannabis to dramatically improve their quality of life and overall health. With the focus on the legalization of cannabis for adult use, many patients are left wondering what will happen to them after Oct. 17th.
GrowWise Health — a subsidiary of Emblem Corp. — has worked one-on-one with over 8,000 patients over the last three years. In recent months, we’ve been encouraged by the growing number of physicians and patients who are exploring cannabis as a treatment option. While there are some who feel that the introduction of legalized cannabis will spell the end of the medical cannabis stream, we’ve found the opposite to be true. Requests for education from patients and expressed interest from the health care community have never been so strong.
When GrowWise began, the vast majority of our patients were hesitant to try medical cannabis. They had exhausted all other treatment options and were only trying cannabis as a last resort. Many were skeptical as cannabis was a taboo subject for many, and, unfortunately, still carried a significant stigma. Since the passing of the Cannabis Act this summer, we’ve seen this stigma begin to fade.
Cannabis is everywhere these days — on the news, on social media, and on our favourite morning talk shows. All of this exposure has done wonders to normalize the subject and has helped many hesitant patients take the first step and talk to their doctor about cannabis.
A bright future awaits patients
Not all physicians were accepting of cannabis when GrowWise Health began, and many were worried that the research supporting cannabis’ benefits was not strong enough. They were concerned that the right support wasn’t in place to help them or their patients navigate treatment options. Others questioned whether patients were truly looking for medical cannabis or just seeking authorization to access cannabis legally, but for recreational purposes.
Over time, however, medical cannabis research has continued to show promising results and patient support has improved. More importantly, physicians can feel confident knowing that after Oct. 17th, those coming to them for an authorization will be truly doing so with medical goals in mind.
Finally, we’re encouraged by the acceptance and interest from supporting industries of the health care community — including major pharmaceutical retail chains and insurance companies — that are beginning to recognize the role medical cannabis can play in a patient’s treatment plan.
Cannabis is incredibly versatile, and we are only just beginning to unlock its true potential as a medicine and therapeutic tool. GrowWise is excited about the future of medical cannabis as we step into this new era of acceptance and legalization. We envision a day where cannabinoid-based therapies are one of many in every physician’s toolkit, and look forward to working alongside other innovators, educators, and patients to make this a reality. We applaud those health care professionals who have already embraced medical cannabis and encourage others to follow suit to best serve their patients.
Canada has the chance to show the world how to successfully legalize cannabis. Let’s also take this opportunity to show the world how to serve patients in need.