The use of medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, but its acceptance in the medical community has waxed and waned in the last decade or so. However, with the increased acceptance of recreational cannabis use and the aging of the baby boomer population, the future for medical cannabis in Canada looks promising. It’s a straightforward fact that baby boomers are aging and with that have a host of moderate to severe medical issues that require treatment.
As baby boomers age, they’re suffering from a variety of chronic conditions including arthritis, migraines, and fibromyalgia. Conditions such as these and other condition require the need for relief from pain and discomfort and where medical cannabis can play a role. And that’s not even including the widely known use of medical cannabis as a symptom reliever for nausea and pain caused by chemotherapy treatment. While opioids are effective for pain relief, they come with a host of side effects and a high risk of overdose.
According to a study by the Canadian Institute for Health study, there were 595 opioid prescriptions per 1,000 population as of 2016, making Canada the world’s second largest per-capita consumer of opioids, behind only the United States. Opioid overdose is of growing concern in both the US and Canada, making healthcare providers increasingly leery, whereas the risk of cannabis overdose is essentially non- existent.
Another factor in medical cannabis’ favor is the aging baby boomers’ tolerance for cannabis use in general. Many boomers in Canada were children in the 1960s and 1970s and had exposure to recreational cannabis and have continued to use it throughout their lives.
Overall, to boomers, the use of medical cannabis may have much more appeal than prescriptions for heavy duty painkillers such as opioids. As a result, despite concerns from the medical community around the use of medical cannabis, the boomer population is such a large percentage of the current healthcare consumer population, medical providers in Canada may have to sit up and take notice.