June 20, 2024  ⦿  

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Demand for medical cannabis in Canada declines, survey indicates that cost is a problem

A recent poll of Canadians reveals that the hefty expense of medical cannabis in Canada presents significant difficulties for patients.

According to Statistics Canada, sales of authorized medicinal cannabis in Canada totaled 101 million Canadian dollars (approximately $75 million) in the fourth quarter of 2022, continuing a downward trend in customer expenditure.

This amount of CA$101 million reflects a 3.8% drop from the same quarter in 2021 and a 34% drop from the fourth quarter of 2018, when recreational cannabis use became legal in Canada. In the fourth quarter of 2022, it is equivalent to 7.5% of legal recreational cannabis expenditures.

In 2022, 5,744 respondents were polled over the course of five months by a coalition of Canadian university researchers and medical marijuana patient advocacy organizations for the Medical Cannabis Access Survey, the majority of whom were “daily medical cannabis consumers with more than 10 years of experience.”

‘One of largest’ studies

The results of the online poll cannot be applied to the entire Canadian population because a random sample was not used to draw the respondents.

However, the paper states that the study’s high sample size makes it “one of the largest to examine Canadians’ medical cannabis use and experiences in the past decade.”

According to Tomorrow420, some Canadian cannabis businesses are concentrating on clients who are covered by employee benefit plans as a way to increase their market share in the higher-margin medical marijuana sector. Few survey participants, nevertheless, had such plans that included their use of medical cannabis.

Only 6% of those with current medical (cannabis) authorizations reported being successful in getting reimbursement for medical cannabis-related expenses, despite the fact that more than half of them have some sort of private health insurance.

Canadian cannabis expenditure

According to the survey, 39% of participants spent more than $200 per month for medicinal cannabis, with the median out-of-pocket cost being CA$125.

These prices are “a travesty,” according to Dr. Michael Dworkind, a palliative care physician and the medical director of Sante Cannabis, a medical marijuana clinic in Montreal and one of the organizations behind the poll.

People shouldn’t have to pay for their medications in our socialized healthcare system, according to Dworkind, who spoke to Tomorrow420.

Dworkind claimed that some of his patients spend $250 Canadian every month for medical marijuana.

He declared, “They have to stop eating.” “These are persons who lose their occupations due to disabilities resulting from vehicle accidents, workplace mishaps, etc.

“It’s tragic that this is such a big obstacle.” The poll also revealed that respondents with annual incomes under $35,000 spend about $50 more per month on medical marijuana than respondents with higher incomes.

The expense was cited as the main deterrent by 48% of the 3.5% of respondents who once used medical cannabis but no longer did. The Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the provincial government’s recreational cannabis retail monopoly, keeps prices low in Quebec, where Sante Cannabis is situated, to compete with the black market.

Dworkind claimed that some patients choose to purchase marijuana from SQDC’s recreational stores “instead of going to the licensed producers with whom (Sante Cannabis is) aligned, who give us dollars for research and development so that we can survive.”

Money for research has run out, he said. We were receiving large sums of money for our research five years ago. Now they claim that their finances cannot support it.

Favorable medical marijuana program

According to the research, “the majority of individuals in this study supported the continuation of the medical cannabis in Canada,” notwithstanding the expense issues that survey respondents claimed to have faced.

The ability to deduct medicinal cannabis-related expenses from taxes, compassionate pricing from approved vendors, and increased possession limits were cited by users as key features of the medical cannabis program. According to the survey, respondents also recommended making medical cannabis accessible through pharmacies.

It was argued that permitting medical cannabis in Canada to be sold through pharmacies was justified by the ability to talk to a pharmacist about dosage and product, explore potential drug interactions, and quickly receive medical cannabis.

In late March, the large Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart made the announcement that it was ceasing to distribute medical cannabis.

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