Saskatchewan medical marijuana users concerned about access to their medicine

Saskatchewan medical marijuana users concerned about access to their medicine

Starting in 2014 people needing medical marijuana will only be allowed to buy the drug from licensed producers.The Federal Government says this is a change that will make it more difficult for growers to abuse the system.But for the hundreds of medical marijuana users in Saskatchewan, they’re worried it’ll limit access to their medicine.Carey Heilman first walked into Head 2 Head in Regina 10 years ago at the end of his rope. He suffers with arachnoiditis. “It’s like living in hell,” he said. “It’s constant spasms and not being able to sleep, not being able to function at all.”He had tried everything and even after he let his doctor convince him to try medical marijuana, he was skeptical.“The first time I tried it I got immediate relief,” he said. “I still get emotional thinking about it. I pretty much broke down in tears I was so shocked.”But now, like the rest of the medical marijuana community, his future is up in the air.The government says Health Canada is no longer in the business of growing and prescribing marijuana. Delivering your medicine will be up to your family doctor and a licensed private grower.The move isn’t sitting well with the medical community.“Physicians are now asked to be the gatekeeper for access to medical marijuana,” said Dr. Anna Reid, President of the Canadian Medical Association.Dr. Reid says this is a task no physician has taken on before. Any other drug a doctor can prescribe has gone through clinical trials, and comes with a safety profile that they’re familiar with.“There’s different strains of marijuana,” she explained. “Some marijuana strains may be more toxic than the others. Five grams of one strain is not the same as five grams of another strain. We actually don’t know what we’re prescribing.”She’s calling for more research and standardization.People like Tim Selenski in Regina have been studying how to make it easier for patients and doctors to understand what they’re getting. His company operates over 20 greenhouses all over Saskatchewan, and he’s developed 70 different strains of marijuana all aimed at treating different ailments.“We have strains that are helping people for hunger, pain relief, or nausea,” just to name a few says Selenski. “There’s strains of cannabis that do amazing things and it really needs to be researched.”Tim is a licensed grower right now and works with his clients to provide them with the best medicine possible.But the future of his company is uncertain, making people like Heilman a little uneasy that their treatment would suddenly be cut short.“I’m not sure I could cope with that,” worries Heilman. “I’m not sure I could deal with it again.”Months ago the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons answered a call for input on this law change from Health Canada. They recommended that their doctors not be asked to prescribe without sufficient evidence and research. A spokesperson for the College told Global News they haven’t had a chance to sit down and review the new laws, but they will be looking at the changes very closely in the new year. Read it on Global News: Global Regina | Saskatchewan medical marijuana users concerned about access to their medicine

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