Canadian Hospitals Prepare To Allow Medical Marijuana

Canadian Hospitals Prepare To Allow Medical Marijuana

Hospitals in Canada could soon see a spike in medical marijuana patients, and are in the midst of developing policies to accommodate them. With new medical marijuana rules set to take over by April 1st, Canadian health officials are predicting a major influx of patients requiring the medicine. Under the MMPR, the number of Canadians with access to medical marijuana is expected to rise from under 40,000, currently, to over 400,000 by 2024. Hospitals, which have long lacked official policies for marijuana use, are now trying to figure out how to best accommodate the increase. Unfortunately, it’s been a bumpy ride for patients of the old system. Alberta Health Services Earlier this week, Lisa Kirkman of Calgary told The Huffington Post that her hospital – along with other Alberta Health Services facilities – have temporarily banned the use of marijuana vaporizers, despite previously allowing them. Kirkman suffers from severe chronic pain and a blood disorder, which she treats with frequent doses of vaporized cannabis – approved by her doctor. But with the recent ban, Kirkman fears that she might lose access to the most effective treatment for her condition. Responding to her case, a spokesperson with AHS denied that a ban on vaporizers was in effect, according to Metro News, but admitted that policies are currently under revision. “AHS is looking at developing a process to support patients who are treated with medical marijuana in our facilities.” The spokesperson added that the use of vaporizers is currently accommodated in negative-pressure rooms. Kirkman, however, claims that such rooms are rarely available and vaporizing in other areas has gotten her physically removed from AHS facilities. Sherbrooke University Hospital (Quebec) In Quebec, patients seem to face a similar predicament in choosing cannabis as a medicine. Charles Bury, longtime editor for the Sherbrooke Record, is currently in palliative care for Stage 4 liver cancer, reports CBC News, and used to vaporize cannabis in his room at Sherbrooke University Hospital. His doctor, Dr. Carl Bromwich, had no issue prescribing him the medicine, which Bury finds helpful for dealing with anxiety. But Dr. Bromwich quickly recognized that the hospital lacked an official policy regarding medical marijuana, and complied with the hospital’s request to withdraw the prescription after Bury’s story went public. Once again, a spokesperson explained that the hospital doesn’t refute medical marijuana, but needs time to consider the issue and develop protocols for future patients. “This new situation leads us to consider the question for the future, because marijuana is not a substance authorized by the (hospital). It is not written on the list of authorized products for prescription by doctors.” While the new MMPR rules are expected to expand access to cannabis for patients, Canadian law has allowed medical marijuana since 2001. Yet health care administrators, including Quebec’s College of Physicians, still struggle to define the substance as a medicine today. Bury also wasn’t the first patient to use cannabis in a Quebec hospital, says Adam Greenblatt of Montreal’s Medical Cannabis Access Society, adding that some have had success in the past, while others have not. Source:

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