Medical weed in Canada is heavily regulated with high safety standards. It is reassuring to know that your medical cannabis is safe. And we’ll learn today. There is plenty of evidence to show how medical cannabis has a high degree of safety and that it is effective. Learn about how medical cannabis is a safe alternative option for Canadians.
What is Medical Cannabis?
Medical cannabis is more than just cannabis. The big difference between medical and recreational cannabis is medical professional supervision and evidence from research. While recreational cannabis is highly regulated to ensure safety in Canada, the medical market goes even further with a safe product and supervised usage. Overall, we Canadians enjoy some of the best weed in the world.
There is plenty of variety within the medical cannabis world. Patients may be offered a selection of dried flower, cannabis oil, cannabis capsules, topical cannabis, or more. Certain options may be better suited for your specific needs. Your medical professional will help you determine the right product type and dosage that is safe and effective.
As far as safety goes, medical cannabis favors safety above all else. When compared against other drugs, both pharmaceutical and illicit, cannabis has a high degree ofsafety. When used under medical supervision, patients may find the symptomatic relief they so desperately desire. In the following sections, we’ll confirm the safety of medical cannabis while we review research on specific conditions and populations.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain
Researchers attempted to assess the use of medical cannabis in patients who have fibromyalgia and chronic pain. With over 300 fibromyalgia patients involved in this study, the researchers explored the benefit and side effects of cannabis in depth. Overall, the study found medical cannabis safe and effective as an alternative treatment for symptom management (Sagy et al., 2019).
Even the best weed is not flawless, however. It does produce side effects. Many of these can be minimized or entirely avoided by remembering to start low and go slow. The known side effects of medical cannabis are dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, and dry mouth. Generally, these side effects are mild and manageable (Sagy et al., 2019).
What about Older Adults?
Research has demonstrated that medical cannabis is both safe and effective in elderly populations. Cannabis led to a significant reduction of falls, an important source of problems in older adults. Furthermore, using medical cannabis appeared to decrease the use of other drugs, including opioids. Considering what we now know about the potential harms ofopioids, this is a promising finding. These findings match the general trend of reduced prescription medication usage for adults using medical cannabis (Abuhasira et al., 2018).
Medical Cannabis and Cancer
You may be wondering about using cannabis for symptom management of those with cancer. Well, research shows that cannabis is well-tolerated, safe, and effective in palliative populations. Overall, medical cannabis appears to help manage symptoms related to cancer, but not as a treatment for the malignancy itself (Schlieder et al., 2018).
Safety-Focused Medical Cannabis Framework
While there is plenty of evidence to support the safety of medical cannabis, there is less research focusing on safety guidance for using medical cannabis. Luckily, we have researchers like Caroline MacCallum and her colleagues attempting to fill this void. Below, we’ll discuss the safety-focused framework explored in their 2021 review article. This resource is a fantastic option for sending your medical professionals if they have questions (MacCallum, Lo, & Boivine, 2021).
Before starting with medical cannabis, patients are screened for precautions, contraindications (CI’s), and potential drug interactions. This process increases safety around medical cannabis, as the evidence demonstrates potential risks around interactions with certain pharmaceutical drugs. That said, it is worth noting that the majority of medications can be used safely alongside medical cannabis (MacCallum, Lo, & Boivine, 2021).
Moreover, certain medical conditions and pre-existing concerns may lead to re-considering the use of cannabis. For example, pregnancy, respiratory disease, and certain medical illnesses are CI’s. For those without CI’s for medical cannabis, it is still critical to start low and go slow to avoid unwanted effects. Follow-up appointments are essential for continued observation of those using medical cannabis to make adjustments as needed (MacCallum, Lo, & Boivine, 2021).
Given your particular circumstances and risk factors, strain selection can be used to find the optimal choice. The same goes for the route of administration. Medical cannabis patients may be encouraged to use dry herb vaporizers, topicals, or cannabis oil. Finally, the potency of THC and CBD can be adjusted to meet your specific needs. Altogether, a thorough medical investigation will increase the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis (MacCallum, Lo, & Boivine, 2021).
As you can see, medical cannabis is safe – and it has the receipts to provide it. Within the medical cannabis world, consumers can select the best weed for their needs. Numerous clinical studies have explored specific and general populations, finding no doubt in the safety of medical cannabis. Furthermore, when used appropriately, it can help patients achieve symptomatic relief and improved quality of life. Visit your medical professional to have a conversation about whether medical cannabis is right for you.
Abuhasira, R., Schlieder, L., Mechoulam, R., & Novack, V. (2018). Epidemiological characteristics, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in the elderly. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 49, pp.44-50. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0953620518300190.
MacCallum, C., Lo, L., Boivine, M. (2021). “Is medical cannabis safe for my patients?” A practical review of cannabis safety considerations. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 89, pp.10-18. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0953620521001527.
Sagy, I., Schieider, L., Abu-Shakra, M., Novack, V. (2019). Safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in fibromyalgia. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(6), 807. Retrieved from: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/8/6/807.
Schlieder, L., Mechoulam, R., Lederman, V., Hilou, M., Lencovksy, O., Betzalel, O., Shbiro, L., & Novack, V. (2018). Prospective analysis of safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in large unselected population of patients with cancer. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 49, pp.37-43. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0953620518300232.