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Canadian Doctors Overwhelmed With Patients Seeking Medical Marijuana Prescriptions

canadian doctors overwhelmed with patients seeking medical marijuana prescriptions

Health

Canadian Doctors Overwhelmed With Patients Seeking Medical Marijuana Prescriptions

With the high demand for medical weed to treat pain, why are Canadian doctors still prescribing opioids to their patients?

Canadian doctors are scrambling to meet the demand of patients for medicinal cannabis as an alternative pain management—and with the obvious current need for medical weed, these same doctors are calling on health care providers and the government at large to update their policies. Even more than that: more doctors need to get on board with prescribing weed instead of opioids.

Supply and Demand

Canadian doctors overwhelmed with patients seeking medical marijuana prescriptions

With a recent full legalization of weed earlier this year, it’s no secret that Canada is at the forefront when it comes to cannabis policy and progressivism. With it, many doctors have expressed their joy over patients choosing medicinal weed over dangerously addictive opioids as a form of pain relief. But it’s becoming clear that the ratio of patients to doctors is way, way off, and that more of the latter is needed to deal with the former.

Dr. Christopher Blue of Windsor, Ontario, outlined the difficulties of having an overwhelming patient load as one of the few doctors that prescribe cannabis to patients. According to, most of his patients are referrals from other medical professionals, who essentially outsource instead of prescribing cannabis themselves.

“Trying to triage that is very difficult and it’s frustrating, not only for me but obviously for the patients,” he told the CBC.

“Unfortunately, patients are having to wait, but I can’t do any more work,” said Blue. “I’m physically tapped out.”

Another physician named Dr. Amit Bagga highlighted the benefits of medicinal cannabis—most pointedly, the minimal risk for addiction.

“I certainly think that medical marijuana is new on the medical scene, so there is probably some information that has to be learned about it,” Bagga stated. “There has to be selecting the right patient for medical marijuana and probably with time we’ll see an increasing number of people with that comfort level.”

Final Hit: Canadian Doctors Choose Weed Over Opioids

So why are some Candian doctors sticking to opioids, which are known to cause a slew of health problems and have a high mortality rate? The answer is simple: fear of the unknown.

“There’s a fear amongst physicians, and rightfully so,” Blue explained. “Look what happened with OxyContin. It’s now an epidemic.”

J.E. Reich

J.E. Reich is a Brooklyn-based GRD staff writer and a former night/weekend editor at Jezebel. Their work has appeared in Slate, the Toast, the Forward, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

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