Recent legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada has opened new opportunities for pharmaceutical research. Moreover, public opinion polls indicate that most Canadians trust their doctors in prescribing cannabis-containing pharmeceuticals.
A recent study carried out by Ipsos on behalf of Tetra Bio-Pharma has revealed that two out of three (65%) Canadians would be willing to take a drug containing cannabis that their doctor prescribed, if approved by Health Canada and covered by either public or private insurance. The survey was carried out with the aim to gain a better understanding of the attitudes, behaviours and opinions of Canadians on cannabis drugs, including their confidence in taking them, the incidence of medical conditions they have where cannabis treatment could be used, as well as any barriers to cannabis drugs.
“Patients are open to cannabis as a medical treatment but want their healthcare professional to be in charge. On the flip side, doctors, medical bodies and payors need the safety and efficacy data that they expect from any drug they prescribe. Treatment with cannabis is complex, which is why the pharmaceutical pathway assures precise dosing and consistent formulation.”Dr. Guy Chamberland, Chief Executive Officer and CSO of Tetra Bio-Pharma,
The results of the survey further revealed that the individuals more likely to be willing to take drugs containing cannabis include men (69%), individuals aged 18-34 (72%), and residents of Ontario (71%). Interestingly, if these drugs were not covered by public or private insurance and patients needed to pay out of pocket, four in ten (38%) would still be willing to do so, especially men (44%), those aged 18-34 (54%), and residents of BC (50%).
The survey also revealed that the majority of Canadians polled seem confident that cannabis has a therapeutic benefit and would be willing to take it for pain and associated symptoms. Specifically, the majority (82%) of Canadians agree that cannabis can reduce pain and other symptoms. Also, over two-thirds (68%) of Canadians are willing to take cannabis to help manage chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, or depression.
Although cannabis is currently authorized for medical purposes under the Cannabis Act, there are not many products currently available that are Health Canada-approved prescription medications; Sativex is one which contains naturally occurring THC and CBD, and Cesamet is one which contains synthetically created THC. Several clinical trials are being carried out currently in Canada to examine the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid-derived pharmaceuticals. Interestingly, over four in ten (43%) Canadians surveyed report being willing participate in a clinical trial testing cannabis-based medicines if approved by Health Canada and if they qualified based on existing conditions.