Tina Lively, a pharmacist in Chatham, has witnessed the life-changing impact that medical cannabis can have on individuals suffering from chronic pain. Although she was initially skeptical about cannabis, Lively started researching its medical benefits in 2014-2015 when Canadian regulations began to shift. In a recent presentation sponsored by Unifor Local 127 Retirees, Lively and scientist Abhishek Chattopadhyay discussed the benefits and history of medical cannabis, aiming to dispel the stigma surrounding it. Lively emphasized that many older patients are turning to medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids and other medications, wanting to regain their mobility and engage in daily activities without experiencing the side effects of traditional medicines. She has seen patients transform from being unable to walk to playing golf again, demonstrating that medical cannabis can truly be life-changing.
Medical cannabis and its impact on chronic pain
Tina Lively’s experience with medical cannabis
Tina Lively, a clinical pharmacist with Thamesview Family Health Team, has witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that medical cannabis can have on individuals suffering from chronic pain. Initially skeptical of cannabis, Lively’s perspective changed as she began to explore the potential benefits of medical cannabis for her patients. She became interested in this alternative treatment option around 2014-2015 when Canadian regulations surrounding medical cannabis were evolving.
The changing regulations and Lively’s interest in medical cannabis
As Canadian regulations surrounding medical cannabis began to change, Lively’s curiosity grew. She decided to delve into the subject and educate herself about medical cannabis. This newfound interest eventually led to her offering medical cannabis as an alternative treatment option to her patients at Thamesview Family Health Team.
Presentation on medical cannabis at the WISH Centre
To help dispel the stigma surrounding cannabis and provide accurate information to the public, Lively, along with Abhishek Chattopadhyay, a scientist and educator with AgMedica Bioscience, Inc., conducted a presentation at the WISH Centre in Chatham. The presentation aimed to highlight the benefits of medical cannabis and provide attendees with an understanding of its history.
Benefits of medical cannabis for older patients
The prevalence of chronic pain among older patients
Chronic pain is a common issue among older patients, with approximately 70% of the patients Lively works with being over the age of 70. The aging process often brings various ailments, including arthritis, neuropathy, and other conditions that result in chronic pain. Medical cannabis has shown promise in alleviating pain symptoms and improving the quality of life for these older individuals.
Reasons why older patients are considering medical cannabis
One of the primary reasons why older patients are considering medical cannabis is their aversion to more traditional treatment options, such as opioids. Many individuals in this age group are concerned about the side effects associated with opioids and are seeking alternatives to manage their pain. Medical cannabis offers a potential solution, providing effective pain relief without the undesirable side effects.
Life-changing effects of medical cannabis on older patients
The impact of medical cannabis on older patients can be truly life-changing. Lively has witnessed patients who were initially unable to perform everyday activities, such as walking or playing golf, regain their mobility and overall quality of life after starting medical cannabis treatment. The ability to engage in these activities once again has brought immense joy and improved the psychological well-being of these patients.
Application methods and alternatives to smoking
Ingestible forms of medical cannabis
Medical cannabis is available in various forms, and smoking is just one option among many. For individuals who prefer not to smoke, there are ingestible forms of medical cannabis, such as edibles or oils. These options offer a discreet and convenient way to consume medical cannabis without the need for smoking.
The importance of avoiding inhalation of burning vegetation
Lively strongly advises against inhaling burning vegetation as a means of consuming medical cannabis. Inhaling smoke can have adverse health effects and should be avoided. Thankfully, there are alternative methods available that allow individuals to experience the benefits of medical cannabis without the risks associated with smoking.
Topical application of medical cannabis
Another application method for medical cannabis is topical use. Topical creams and ointments infused with medical cannabis can be applied directly to the affected area, providing localized relief for conditions such as arthritis or muscle pain. This method allows for targeted treatment and minimizes the psychoactive effects often associated with other forms of medical cannabis use.
Obtaining a medical cannabis prescription
The process of getting a referral from a doctor
Obtaining a medical cannabis prescription typically begins with a referral from a doctor. Patients who are interested in exploring medical cannabis as a treatment option should schedule an appointment with their primary care physician or a healthcare provider knowledgeable in medical cannabis. The healthcare provider will evaluate the patient’s medical history and symptoms to determine if medical cannabis may be a suitable treatment option.
Consideration of other medications before medical cannabis
Before prescribing medical cannabis, healthcare providers will often consider other medications that the patient is currently taking. They will evaluate possible drug interactions and ensure that medical cannabis is a safe and appropriate choice given the patient’s current medication regimen.
Checks and balances in place for prescribing medical cannabis
Various checks and balances are in place to ensure responsible and appropriate prescribing of medical cannabis. Healthcare providers are trained to assess patients for potential risks and side effects of medical cannabis, as well as to monitor their progress while using this treatment option. Additionally, healthcare providers must adhere to specific regulations and guidelines when prescribing medical cannabis to ensure patient safety.
The history and legalization of cannabis
Overview of the historical significance of cannabis
Cannabis has a rich history dating back centuries. It has been used for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes across different cultures and civilizations. From ancient Chinese texts to medicinal traditions in India, cannabis has played a significant role in human history.
Centuries of progress towards legalization
Despite its long history, cannabis has faced legal restrictions and social stigma throughout much of the modern era. However, the last few decades have seen a shift in public opinion, leading to the gradual legalization of cannabis in various countries and states. This progress is rooted in the growing recognition of the potential medical benefits of cannabis and a shift towards evidence-based policies.
Challenges in achieving widespread acceptance
While progress has been made in the legalization of cannabis, challenges remain in achieving widespread acceptance and understanding. Misinformation and stigma surrounding cannabis persist, hindering efforts to fully reveal its potential benefits. Continued research, education, and open dialogue are crucial in overcoming these challenges and ensuring that individuals have access to safe and effective medical cannabis treatments.
Addressing the cost of medical cannabis
Taxation and insurance coverage for medical cannabis
One significant factor contributing to the cost of medical cannabis is taxation. Unlike other prescribed medications, medical cannabis is subject to additional taxes, including excise tax and HST (Harmonized Sales Tax). These taxes can significantly impact the affordability of medical cannabis for patients.
Additionally, insurance coverage for medical cannabis varies. While many medical insurance providers now offer coverage for medical cannabis, some employers may choose not to include it in their insurance policies. This variability in coverage can further limit access to medical cannabis for patients who rely on insurance for medication costs.
Prohibitive costs for some patients
The cost of medical cannabis can be prohibitive for certain patients, particularly those with limited financial resources. For individuals who require medical cannabis as a long-term treatment option, the expenses can accumulate, making it challenging to afford and maintain the necessary medication.
Inclusion of medical cannabis in insurance policies
To improve access and affordability, there is a need for increased inclusion of medical cannabis in insurance policies. By ensuring that medical cannabis is covered by insurance, patients can obtain the necessary treatment without the burden of excessive costs. Continued advocacy and education are essential in promoting the inclusion of medical cannabis in insurance coverage.
The need for continued research and education
Ongoing research on the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis
As medical cannabis gains recognition as a treatment option, ongoing research is necessary to further explore its effectiveness and safety. Rigorous scientific studies can provide valuable insights into the potential benefits, optimal dosages, and any potential risks associated with medical cannabis use. This research will help healthcare professionals make informed decisions when considering medical cannabis as a treatment option for their patients.
Importance of educating healthcare professionals and the general public
Education plays a vital role in maximizing the potential benefits of medical cannabis. Healthcare professionals need access to accurate and evidence-based information about medical cannabis to guide their decision-making process and effectively communicate with patients. Similarly, the general public can benefit from education that dispels myths and misconceptions, allowing them to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Potential for further advancements in medical cannabis treatments
The field of medical cannabis holds great potential for further advancements and innovations. Continued research and development may uncover new strains, formulations, or delivery methods that enhance the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis treatments. As the scientific understanding of cannabis continues to evolve, there is optimism for improved treatments and increased accessibility for patients.
Conclusion: The transformative potential of medical cannabis
Personal anecdotes of patients experiencing life-changing effects
Tina Lively’s experiences as a clinical pharmacist have revealed the transformative potential of medical cannabis for individuals suffering from chronic pain. Personal anecdotes from patients highlight the positive impact that medical cannabis can have on their quality of life, enabling them to regain mobility, alleviate pain, and engage in activities they once thought impossible.
The role of medical cannabis in improving the quality of life
Medical cannabis offers a promising alternative for individuals seeking relief from chronic pain and other debilitating conditions. By alleviating symptoms and improving overall well-being, medical cannabis has the potential to significantly enhance the quality of life for patients.
Continued advocacy for medical cannabis use
As the acceptance and understanding of medical cannabis grow, it is crucial to continue advocating for its use. By promoting further research, education, and open dialogue, society can ensure that individuals have access to safe, effective, and affordable medical cannabis treatments. The transformative potential of medical cannabis should not be overlooked, and efforts should be made to support its implementation in healthcare practices.