For many years, medicinal cannabis has been studied by scientists and researchers striving to understand the healing properties that come from its high cannabidiol (CBD) content and high levels of medical terpenes and flavonoids. Results have, in turn, empowered health care providers, patients and a supportive community to gradually accept the positive effects of medical cannabis and the level of mental, physical and emotional healing capabilities it encompasses.

The treatable conditions within the growing purvue of medical cannabis are complex and range from nausea and chronic pain to anxiety and neuropathic pain. Studies have shown that participants provided with cannabis products in various forms showed a decrease in pain and an increase in quality of life- the focus and hope of all patients and their support networks.  

In large part, studies and medical research have contributed to a gradual acceptance of medical cannabis in the perspectives of our collective society; but true change for the patients, families, caregivers and communities who need it will come from a compassionate approach to their stories and this still-misunderstood medicine.  

Patients face barriers to accessing their medicine, proper care and support – all while dealing with symptoms of their condition or ailment. These barriers can include:

  • doctors or medical staff who – despite World Health Organization standards – refuse to consider medical cannabis as a treatment
  • expenses related to medication because not enough plans cover  cannabis as a medication
  • limited access because their medicine is only available by mail to their home address and purchase at a local “dispensary” could lead to a fine
  • small or non-existent support networks due to the misinformation and stigma surrounding not only a number of conditions but also cannabis itself

Family members too, are often caught up in the evolution of medicinal cannabis rhetoric among patients, healthcare professionals and governing bodies; Any number, combination or variances of these barriers should be at the guiding point of every conversation, treatment plan, policy or directive for a more compassionate and better standard of healthcare and medical cannabis.

There are resources available to further your understanding of medicinal cannabis:

  • Books, articles, scientific studies and more are available for everything cannabis; from the history of the plant and ancient medicine, to modern applications for rare conditions. See our last post here to get you started.
  • Conferences and expos take place worldwide bringing industry leaders, top minds and technology together. Consider attending a presentation, lecture or demonstration to meet and hear from the professionals in the field.
  • Join an organization or reach out to them for information. Medical cannabis improves the quality of life for people from all walks of life, through an infinity of experiences. Groups exist for specific conditions such as Parkinson’s, MS, Epilepsy, anxiety and chronic pain as well as for former athletes and veterans, and also for general patient support with this medicine. These focused and established communities can provide some of the best information from reliable sources to assist you.
  • Online. While some misinformation exists and can be misleading, there is a whole world of quality information at your fingertips. Do your homework and always check your sources, look for peer-reviewed articles, consider the audience, check for supporting resources for your search from multiple areas.

The right tools and resources allow us an educated approach to medical cannabis but practicing compassion and understanding is equally important: Listen to patient stories, examine the beliefs you have about cannabis right now (are they informed? what evidence do you have to support them? is there new information that you have now that could change your mind?), and ask questions.

A COMPASSIONATE and EMPATHETIC approach to medical cannabis, from the perspective of the patients at the front lines of this powerful medicine, is where there is the greatest opportunity for communities, loved ones and government officials to step up and create dramatic changes and progress for medicinal cannabis in Canada.