Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns: Manitoba Report
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A report from the University of Manitoba suggests medical cannabis safety concerns. The report indicates that most Canadians using cannabis for medical purposes don’t have proper medical authorization. Instead, they are using the recreational market.

Over half of the 5,744 Canadians surveyed for the report said they obtained medical cannabis without medical approval.

Lead researcher Lynda Balneaves said, “This raises real concerns around safety.”

The report suggests people without medical authorization are 20 percent less likely to speak to a healthcare professional. Sixteen percent are more likely to rely on “unqualified sources of information.” This includes anything you read online or what the “sales staff” at a recreational cannabis store says.

Regulated Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns?

Regulated Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns?

Under the Cannabis Act, it is legal to grow cannabis in your home and share it with friends and family. However, what you do in the privacy of your own home evidently concerns others.

Lead researcher of this medical cannabis safety concern study is worried about the source of cannabis used for medical purposes.

“It raises concerns in terms of has that product gone through good manufacturing processes? Could there be a potential for contamination? Is the labelling on that product accurate in terms of the amount of THC, the cannabinoid that makes people feel high? It may not be accurate, and then that potentially could lead to people experiencing more side-effects,” she said.

Of course, Health Canada regulates the authorized supply of medical cannabis. But consider:

  1. What is a “good” manufacturing process? Sea of green? Organic? Hydroponic?  
  2. Has Health Canada’s bureaucratic regulation eliminated contamination issues? Of course not.
  3. Has Health Canada’s bureaucratic regulation resulted in accurate product labelling? Apparently not.
  4. What are the side effects of inaccurate THC levels? Intoxication requiring a hospital visit? Death?

The most reported side-effects of the survey’s respondents were dry mouth and feeling tired. Some experienced nausea, dizziness and vomiting. But those latter symptoms came from taking too much THC.

Why Bother With Medical Cannabis?

Many believe the distinction between “medical” and “recreational” is arbitrary and ultimately useless. All cannabis use is therapeutic. Otherwise, why use it? What extra safety concerns are there with medical cannabis specifically?

Some people experience chronic pain, insomnia, or anxiety. Others are simply looking to relax after a long day at work. Whether your use is “medical,” “recreational,” or “therapeutic” depends on your state of mind.

Besides, the authorities tell us that cannabis has no Drug Identification Number. That there is “insufficient evidence” that it helps with various diseases. It may even have a negative effect on clinical depression.

Nevertheless, people find relief with cannabis. And access to recreational markets (and underground markets) is one hundred times easier than getting medical authorization.

Additionally, as per the Manitoba report, less than six percent of people with medical authorization are reimbursed through their insurance coverage.

And half of the respondents said they stopped relying on cannabis because it got too expensive.

With data like this, is it any wonder Canada’s medical cannabis community prefers underground markets?

Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns: The Report’s Recommendations

Lead researcher of this medical cannabis safety concern report, Lynda Balneaves, thought the underground market would disappear.

“I was kind of shocked that the market hasn’t stabilized in a way that’s supported people to use a safe supply of medical cannabis,” she told media.

Of course, this shouldn’t have been a surprise. The 10mg THC cap on edibles is asinine and guarantees that medical patients will continue patronizing underground dispensaries.

The government’s cannabis excise tax not only harms small-to-medium producers but insults the free choices of Canadians everywhere. Additionally, it makes legal recreational markets unrealistic avenues of supply for medical patients.

Yet, despite not seeing these problems as they appeared, despite appearing “shocked,” Balneaves, along with the team behind the report, have recommendations to improve medical cannabis access.

The medical cannabis safety concern report suggests:

  1. Design, implement, and maintain a formalized evaluation of the medical cannabis framework in consultation with patients and key experts
  2. Maintain reasonable access to cannabis through a dedicated medical framework embedded within the Cannabis Regulations.
  3. Implement changes to cannabis regulations, tax policy, and insurance formularies to reduce out-of-pocket costs associated with medical cannabis and re-direct use away from the unregulated market.
  4. Develop, implement, and evaluate healthcare professional education training focused on medical cannabis across the multidisciplinary healthcare team
  5. Expand reasonable access to medical cannabis by adding community pharmacy dispensing.
  6. Maintain and amplify a federal resource hub that provides updated, evidence-based information and resources about medical cannabis.

Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns: CLN’s Recommendations

Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns: CLN's Recommendations

The report’s suggestions are pretty mainstream and precisely what’d you expect from a University publication.

So allow us to tweak these recommendations and fix the medical cannabis program once and for all.

1. Forget the Experts

Design, implement, and maintain a medical cannabis framework in consultation with patients and patients only. Canada’s medical community has heard enough from “key experts.” What has been the result? The current regime.

2. Provide reasonable access through a medical framework

The report says “maintain,” but that implies the current approach is working. In reality, Health Canada is likely to scrap the medical program altogether.

3. Implement changes to cannabis regulations

Namely, eliminating the excise tax and providing medical cannabis with a DIN so insurance companies can’t play dumb. Also, instead of “re-directing use away from the unregulated market,” why not embrace this “unregulated” market? (See #5)

4. Re: medical cannabis education

Yes, someone should educate healthcare professionals on medical cannabis. But who? And how? And should every doctor get this education? What if some don’t want it? Can’t they refer to another doctor who can? Or are we going to force them into this “medical cannabis education” class? And, with all the problems of Canada’s health care system, is educating doctors about medical cannabis the best use of taxpayer dollars? This gets into a broader issue with Canada’s Soviet-health regime in general.

5. Community pharmacy dispensing 

Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns

We already had those. Every level of government in this country has done everything possible to eliminate these medical dispensaries and replace them with top-down corporate storefronts. 

And the ones that remain are struggling to survive. The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, for example, is nearly 30 years old. They have over 8,600 members. They’ve been raided in the past but have beaten every criminal charge in court. 

Do you know why? Because they aren’t violent gangsters pushing hard drugs. They are community members providing safe medical cannabis to low-income, disabled, and other marginalized citizens of this country. 

But thanks to the extrajudicial “Community Safety Unit,” this locally-run medical dispensary faces over $6 million in fines.

Want to fix medical cannabis in Canada? Have medical cannabis safety concerns? Then legalize the VCBC. Allow B.C. Bud farmers to craft their own industry standards.

6. Get the Federal Government Out of the Cannabis Business

The medical cannabis safety report suggests maintaining and amplifying the federal government’s cannabis hub. We recommend getting the federal government out of the cannabis business entirely.

Not just with medical cannabis but recreational too.

The last thing we need is more cannabis propaganda from the federal government, paid for by taxpayers who can barely afford their grocery bills. 

Even when cannabis information is accurate, special interests are always available to capture the process.  

For years, cannabis was a narcotic that was highly addictive and had no medical or scientific value. Now it has medical and scientific value, but it’s still highly addictive, so it needs proper regulation.

For your own good.

Final Thoughts on Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns

Final Thoughts on Medical Cannabis Safety Concerns

The only medical cannabis safety concerns are the government’s increasing monopolization of the narrative. Anything that doesn’t fit into their 3×5 card of allowable opinion is “misinformation.”

Overall, this report offers some insights into the struggle medical cannabis patients face every day. But, like most University publications that speak of “lived experiences” as valid means of acquiring knowledge – this report fails to offer viable solutions.

Medical cannabis patients need access to free and fair markets. The medical cannabis safety concerns outlined in this report result from ignoring that reality.