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Insights from medicinal cannabis users

Cannabis science
Emerald Health
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Insights from medicinal cannabis users

What we learned from interviewing dozens of consumers across Canada

While we're excited about the legalization of cannabis for adult consumers, Emerald Health Therapeutics has been serving medicinal cannabis consumers since 2015. We are proud to have become leaders in plant science and pharmaceutical innovation by continually listening to and learning from our customers.

Recently, our team conducted a fresh round of in-depth interviews with cannabis consumers from across the country to learn more about the key needs and concerns that Canadians have about cannabis consumption today. Here are some of the key takeaways from that research:

1. The stigma remains

Despite the fact that cannabis is now legal, the perceived stigma surrounding its consumption is still a significant deterrent for many consumers. Medicinal consumption has been legal in Canada since 2001; however, many participants confessed that certain subcultures and stereotypes associated with recreational cannabis consumption have held them back from trying it.

I always thought of it as a street drug. I never pursued it recreationally. I don’t want to be associated with potheads – with being a stoner.

—Janet, 46, Vancouver

For this reason, getting a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional can provide a feeling of legitimacy and relief for some. It allows cannabis to change from a 'street drug' to a medicine.

Ultimately, the best way to break down some of the stereotypes surrounding cannabis consumption is to keep having conversations - with family, friends, and those with different world views.

2. Not all doctors are willing to prescribe

Cannabis may now be fully legalized, but doctors can still decline to authorize it for their patients. This occurs when medical professionals are uncomfortable authorizing cannabis due to a self-declared lack of knowledge or simply feel that it is exclusively a recreational drug.

If you experience this as a patient, don’t feel discouraged. There are now many licensed health care practitioners and cannabis clinics around the country who will readily provide you with a second opinion.

The doctors would prefer you to talk to the people who sell the stuff. They say, 'I'll refer you, I won't prescribe you.

—Margaret, 60, Toronto

Once you've spoken with your physician, learn more about how to register as a medicinal consumer with Emerald Health.

3. Affordability can be the biggest barrier

Medical consumers, unlike recreational consumers, often consume cannabis out of necessity rather than choice. And it's often the case that they are dealing with chronic pain and other issues that require them to be on a fixed income.

We heard from consumers across Canada, time and again, that out of all the factors they consider when choosing a licensed producer and trying products, affordability is by far the biggest consideration.

We’re not the wealthiest people financially. We’re in a situation that has cost us our careers.

— James, 38, Toronto

Emerald understands the difficulties that some of our patients might be facing, and provides a compassionate pricing model. A few other affordability tips to keep in mind:

Emerald Health Therapeutics is a Health Canada Licensed Producer of cannabis – view all our products.

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