At Windsor, Ontario, Dr. Christopher Blue, urges his weed-wary colleagues to prescribe marijuana to their patients, over other treatments, for pain. Opioids are prescribed as pain relievers, but, it is known with many harmful side effects.
Dr. Blue is one of those doctors who is prescribing medical marijuana in Ontario. He says that medical marijuana should be covered under the health benefit programs, as the price of marijuana is one main reason, why many patients are backing off from purchasing it. Due to the minimal risks of marijuana consumption(as medicine), many doctors are referring patients to him; due to the increase in the number of patients, the waiting list that two weeks earlier, has now become as long as, eight months.
Dr. Blue also talks about this increased demand too. He says, " Unfortunately, patients have to wait, but I can't do any more work. I am physically tapped out."
Dr. Blue's reasons, to go for Marijuana-
According to the 2016 report, around 2,450 Canadians have died from the opioid-related overdoses. At present the volume of the patients looking for marijuana, as the means for pain management has skyrocketed, and as the result of this, the cancer patients are forced to wait in discomfiture, to get the marijuana medication for the pain that is caused due to the other cancer treatments.
Dr. Amit Bagga, the president of the Essex County Medical Society, also agrees that medical marijuana is less risky than opioids. According to him, medical properties of marijuana are less familiar among patients, currently, and he is confident that the number of medical marijuana users will grow, over time, as they become more and more familiar with this form of treatment. He believes that a little education about medical marijuana is necessary, as usage of marijuana for medical conditions, is something that, many are not aware of. He also adds, "There has to be a selection of the right patients receptive for medical marijuana and probably with time we'll see an increasing number of people with that comfort level."
Dr. Christopher Blue says that many of his colleagues aren't much comfortable about prescribing marijuana, as a medicine.
Canada knows what happened with OxyContin, which was an opioid pain killer. OxyContin is the notorious name in the world of prescription drug-abuse. In 2010, for the first time, Canada became the highest opioid-consuming country, per capita in the world, beating the USA. Another report, given by Global News, said that, in 2011, there were twice as many Ontarians killed by opioid overdoses, as drivers killed in the car accidents.
However, now OxyContin is not available anywhere in Canada, but prescription drug-abuse still exists. So, what makes Marijuana safer than Opioids? Frequent consumption of opioids has proven fatal in many cases, has serious side effects and is highly addictive which cannot be ignored either. On the other hand, medical marijuana consumption is not fatal; there are no known deaths recorded from the marijuana overdose in the history. And, the side effects are also, comparatively lesser than what the opioids have.
A good number of research experiments, the one from McGill University, Montreal(2010) for example, shows that Medical Marijuana can ease even the most chronic neuropathic pain. Along with the pain alleviation, marijuana consumption is said to promote sleep and improve the mood. An additional observation was that, as the potency of the Marijuana increased, the pain alleviation was quick.
Many are backing off, from using the Medical Marijuana, and the reason for this is its price
Yes. Medical Marijuana is expensive, which is why, Dr. Blue, wants it to be covered under the health benefits program. There is one patient Jennifer Butcher, who is 46-year old, suffering from fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis, along with the neck and back pain from her childhood car accident. Due to these, she finds it hard to stand for long hours. We are mentioning her, because, she is eager to try medical Marijuana for her health condition.
Just like Jennifer, there are many who are suffering from various types of chronic pain, and are well aware of the miracles that marijuana can bring about to restore their “joy of life”, but would be unable to use it, unless it were covered.
"It's a bit of a conundrum that government and insurance companies will cover this bad thing, which we know is causing harm, but they won't cover something else that is better," said Blue, and is very much more agreeable, too.
Here is the reason why marijuana, is not covered under the health benefits program: The spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of Health, Mr. David Jensen, says, "medical marijuana is not covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan because it has not been approved by Health Canada as a therapeutic product under the Food and Drugs Act, nor has it been submitted or reviewed through Ontario's established public drug funding review process."
What are we waiting for?
This clearly states how important legalization is. The earlier it happens, the better it is.