Medical marijuana seems to be a growing issue when it comes to availability of the product for patients who use cannabis to manage pain.
While the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to recognize or approve marijuana as ‘medicine’, its applications in the treatment of a number of diseases and conditions has been well documented. The use of medical marijuana is being sanctioned more and more by clinics and doctors in the US and Canada, there seems to be a growing issue when it comes to availability of the product for patients who use cannabis to manage pain and other conditions.
Alexis Brenner discovered that cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, helped her manage chronic pain resulting from endometriosis. "CBD, once I found it, made a huge difference for my level of function," stated Brenner. "It's non-psychoactive, so I can be present and available and aware with my kids. I can use that medicine on a daily basis."
After using the treatment for a few months, her Health Canada-licensed producer informed her it had run out of the cannabidiol oil she’d been using. And Brenner isn’t the only one to hit a supply and demand roadblock that’s resulting in many patients resorting to purchasing product from the black market.
But why are people having to wait? "Based on market data, there is sufficient supply of cannabis for medical purposes to meet the current needs of registered clients," a Health Canada spokesperson recently told CBC News.
A lot of the issue comes down to a lack of licensed producers combined with the sheer number of different strains. Not all producers can produce all strains all the time, which often results in shortages. And then there’s the number of new registered patients to consider.
According to Health Canada data, the number of registered patients has grown by 90,208 from December 2015 to December 2016. This number represents an annual increase of 227%. But supplies aren’t matching up with the growing demand.
"There is product available, but in certain cases the patients don't want that specific product. Or the reputations of that particular [licensed producer] aren't as positive as people may want to see, and so they're not buying from it," said Terry Roycroft, president of Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc.
While solutions are in the works to increase the number of producers as well as increasing the facility size for existing producers, there are other alternatives to consider. Marijuana and pot dispensaries are beginning to pop up more and more. More conveniently, mail order marijuana services are now available that can deliver medical marijuana strains and products directly to the door of registered users. This type of service is not only discreet, but functions through a user-friendly ordering system with fast shipping anywhere in Canada. BCweeddelivery.com is one such service that is striving to improve the availability of medical marijuana across Canada, reducing the lack of stock on hand, and providing fast and convenient delivery.
“Six weeks, when you’re in pain, is a very long time to wait for medicine,” stated Brenner of her experience with her producer. While this is a simple case of flawed supply and demand, online services may be the answer patients are looking for.
*Sources: drugabuse.gov, dummies.com, cbc.ca, Health Canada