Prescription and insurance are pot prerequisites for 65% of Canadians

by Leo Almazora26 Feb 2019

Tetra Bio-Pharma, a biopharmaceutical leader in cannabinoid-derived drug discovery, has released new research showing Canadians’ attitudes toward using cannabis for medical purposes.

According to the survey, which was performed by Ipsos and commissioned by Tetra Bio-Pharma, 65% of Canadians would be willing to take a cannabis-containing pharmaceutical drug prescribed by their doctor if it were approved by Health Canada and covered by either public or private insurance             . The sentiment was especially pronounced among men (69%), respondents between 18 and 34 years old (72%), and Ontarians (71%).

In contrast, only 38% of Canadians said they would still be willing if there were no public or private coverage for such products — in other words, if they had to pay out of pocket.

“Patients are open to cannabis as a medical treatment but want their healthcare professional to be in charge,” noted Dr. Guy Chamberland, CEO and chief scientific officer of Tetra Bio-Pharma. “On the flip side, doctors, medical bodies and payors need the safety and efficacy data that they expect from any drug they prescribe.”

Among the participants in the Ipsos study, 69% did not consider themselves as cannabis users. Of those who did, half reported using it for recreational purposes, while a quarter said they use it exclusively for medical reasons.

When asked about the conditions they’d be willing to consider cannabis treatment for, 68% said they’d be willing to use it for chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, or depression. The proportion rises to 84% among those who live with three or more conditions that have been linked to treatment with a cannabis-based medicine.

In spite of Canadians’ interest in using cannabis to treat medical conditions — 82% agreed it can reduce pain and other symptoms — only 17% said they were closely following the progress in clinical trials for cannabis-based medicines being approved by Health Canada. A significantly higher proportion, 43%, said they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial for cannabis-based medicines if it had the regulator’s blessing and if they were qualified for the trial.

Canadians also expressed a strong reliance on doctors to give them the green light on taking pot-based medicines. An 88% majority agreed that there’s some degree of risk in taking cannabis for health conditions without a physician’s say-so. Similarly, 72% said they would trust a drug containing cannabis if it were described by their doctor.

But it seems Canadian patients believe there’s room for healthcare practitioners to learn more about pot. Just over half agreed that their doctor knows how to treat them with cannabis (56%), and that their doctor is sufficiently well informed to do so (53%).