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Medical Cannabis

Medical Cannabis

For people living with chronic pain, the options for medication to assist with pain management are limited, and each has its drawbacks. For these people, medical cannabis offers a potential alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals such as NSAIDs and opioids. However, there are many unanswered questions about the use of medical cannabis to treat arthritis symptoms, and physicians have received no formal guidelines about when, how and for whom to prescribe medical cannabis.

To address this gap, the Arthritis Society is funding research into the use of medical cannabis for treatment of arthritis symptoms, and is leading a coalition of voices from across the Canadian health care sector in calling on the Government of Canada to invest $25 million over five years to conduct research into medical cannabis. At the same time, we are working to ensure that the process by which Canadians access this treatment option is fair, reliable, safe and affordable.

Affordability is a focus of current advocacy efforts. Medical cannabis patients are required to pay Sales Tax on their medication, and as of October 17, 2018 they are required to pay a further 10% Excise tax. No other physician-authorized drug is subjected to taxation. This unfair policy places an additional financial burden on patients who already pay upwards of $500 per month for their needed medication, without support of provincial or private drug plans. The Arthritis Society is a leading voice in calling for medical cannabis to be treated the same as other medical necessities by being made tax exempt.

The following resources address our advocacy position on these issues.

For more information about medical cannabis and arthritis, please visit our medical cannabis page.