Canadians support regulated access to medical cannabis: Poll

Three-quarters said health insurance companies should cover costs

A significant majority of Canadians like the idea of regulated access to medical cannabis with physician support, according to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of Tilray, a medical cannabis producer.

And three-quarters of respondents said health insurance companies should cover the costs of medical cannabis for those in legitimate need.

The survey also shows:

• 76 per cent of Canadians are aware medical cannabis is legal in Canada. 

• 73 per cent know that physicians and certain nurse practitioners are the only health-care professionals who can legally authorize use of medical cannabis in Canada.

• A majority of Canadians (73 per cent) believe medical cannabis is a good option for those living with chronic pain.

• 70 per cent believe medical cannabis can be a safer alternative to opioid drugs.

While Canadians strongly support medical cannabis as a therapeutic option, only 42 per cent believe their family physician would prescribe them medical cannabis if they had a chronic medical condition.

The government of Canada introduced new regulations relating to how Canadians can obtain medical marijuana in 2013, with regulations coming into full force in 2014.

"There is a clear need for greater education so that physicians can gain knowledge and clinical experience with medical cannabis in their practice and develop confidence in recommending it for their patients," said Greg Engel, Tilray's CEO. "The good news is that the evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis is rapidly growing, and is finally catching up to the overwhelming public support for this treatment option."

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