Do We Even Need “Medical Cannabis” Anymore?

Nicholas Demski January 31, 2019 4 comments

Recreational access to cannabis is at an all time high. Is it time, then, to get rid of prescriptions and physician involvement in cannabis?

Cannabis is federally legal in Canada, for both recreation and medical. There’s a recreational market in California, Colorado, and points beyond for the United States. Mexico is going to legalize as soon as they can. Before you know it, cannabis prohibition will be dead in North America. Once prohibition falls there, Europe will continue to follow suit and it will spread across the globe. The question becomes: if cannabis is legal on the books, why the need for medical cannabis at all?

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Maybe the Medical Market Was a Set up For Recreational?

At least, that’s what some people are asking. OK, let’s assume that medical cannabis was just a way to get recreational cannabis closer to legalization. Once people could see that a medical marketplace was helping people and didn’t cause total moral destruction to the community, they’d be more likely to support a recreational version of the plant. Maybe.

However, this sideswipes the fact that cannabis IS a medicine. The initial question, ‘do we still need medical cannabis?’ is flawed in its framing. The knowledge that cannabis is a medicine immediately flattens the question.

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Recreational and Medical Are Definitely Different Markets

The recreational marketplaces aren’t always aimed at treating problems per say, other than boredom or the need for relaxation. But, every consumer industry has that aspect to it. The most notable difference is that recreational products encourage people to consume as much as they can, more than they need, and as much as they can buy, all with the highest amount of THC they can find.

This isn’t how medicine works, though.

Cannabis is an Individual Medicine

Cannabis is highly individualistic medicine. It’s able to be tailored to condition and tolerance using different ratios of cannabinoids with deference to terpene content.

So, when people ask why we need medical markets when cannabis is recreationally available, here’s why:

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  • Cannabis patients need specialists trained in their care.
  • Cannabis patients need different types of products than what is available on the recreational market.

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Limits on Recreational Markets Can Reduce Patient Access to Diverse Products

For a patient suffering from a debilitating chronic illness, their state’s recreational market policies may not allow purchase of appropriate products, such as suppositories and edibles.  Recreational limits on grow can also leave a patient without an adequate quantity of medicine. Medical cannabis markets allow for individual patients to be independently assessed for grow limits.

Still, All Cannabis is Medicinal

Cannabis is a very healing plant; it gives people what they need. Some need pain relief from a 20-year-old back injury, others need a softening of the sadness that dips into depression from time to time. Some look for anxiety relief and Some just need a good night’s sleep.

In each case, cannabis helps improves someone’s life.

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I would argue that there will always be a need for a medical market because it’s the only one that legitimizes cannabis in terms of meeting the needs of people invested in healing. Because, in the end, all cannabis is medicinal, regardless of the intent behind consumption. Everything else is just marketing.

Author avatar

Nicholas Demski

I like to smash stigmas of all types. I'm a full-time single father, world-traveler, and an advocate for medicinal plants being treated for what they are: plants. You can follow my life's journey on the following platforms: Instagram @TheSingleDadNomad YouTube and Facebook: The Single Dad Nomad Blog: Also, feel free to have a look at my portfolio of work:

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  1. Current approach is based on the misconception cannabis is a deleterious drug with minimal medicinal applications.

    The Complex of cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant make it virtually impossible to employ the Isolate and Target’ research methodology currently used in pharmacological research.

    Although the array of cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the cannabis plant can provide a broad spectrum of treatments for various human ailments, there is currently no way to ascertain which combination of compounds treat which disease most effectively based on our current method of research.

    Based on the complexity of the cannabis plant and the number of compounds it contains it will take decades for science to identify individual compounds and their combinations in relation to how they treat various human ailments and the fact that whole plant therapy can be applied, and successfully used, to treat these ailments now, even though we have yet to ascertain their synergistic functions, demands that we must immediately seek a method to medicinally employ whole plant cannabinoid therapy for the benefit of all Canadians while we continue to study the individual interactions of the cannabinoid/terpene complex.


    The solution to many of these problems is relatively simple although the details may be more complicated.

    Due to the nature of how complex the cannabis plant is and how hard it is to study given our current system we need to create a new protocol to employ cannabis therapy while simultaneously continuing to study and develop further uses for this very versatile plant.

    Since the Target and isolate and patent and profit system will not work in the case of cannabinoid therapy we are going to have to create a new funding model as well as marketing model and the legalization of recreational Cannabis gives us that perfect opportunity.

    If Canada creates a profitable recreational Cannabis industry, then the application of an excise tax on the sale of all recreational cannabis (including all future exports of recreational Cannabis to International markets) somewhere between 1% to 5% would eventually provide a stable source of funding for government grant-based research programs at various universities and medical institutions. These research studies would be designed to identify and understand the healing properties of cannabinoid and terpene synergies; not for the purpose of patenting and profiting from an individual compound but for the purpose of providing accurate information to improve the application of cannabinoid therapy across all components of healthcare.

    Our cannabis industry should be structured so that the large industrial licensed producers, who have already being required to adhere to strict regulations regarding cannabis production, could be licensed to supply medicinal cannabis to all medical institutions such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinic and pharmacies. The existing private and public distribution system could be set up for recreational cannabis and taxes collected for the benefit of local municipalities, provincial governments, the federal government, and the continuation of medical research. The dispensary market could also provide a holistic based access system for Cannabis meds for those who choose to self manage their own treatment and those who choose to produce their own medicinal Cannabis should be allowed to do so.

    Although we would also collect tax on International exports, all the revenues from tax collected on those exports should go directly to medical research and the creation of a medicinal whole plant cannabinoid therapy application regime within our current medical institutions.

    This basic framework would allow our society to apply whole plant cannabinoid therapy immediately for the benefit of all Canadians while simultaneously providing funding to continue the study of the vast array of medicinal applications of This truly versatile plant.

  2. Joanne smith

    cannabis helps me with PTSD it’s ilgel in UK

  3. angelica

    If it wasn’t for weed i would be still lost in my PTSD ,,,depressions….fears,,,, panics….I can’t get it prescribed by my doctors because I have Medicaid and it is not Federally approved for treatment…but with 300 dollars a doctor that sees me only twice will probably say yes because my condition is real believe me….and the proof is in my meds…. love always

  4. James

    I agree that all cannabis is medicinal and also agree with several facts that have been touched on in this article.
    With that said, I also believe that there should remain a difference in medical and recreational use. I also believe that the medical users should have a MUCH LESS cost when purchasing their medicine, then say, the recreational user who wants to binge watch a show for a day. I don’t think it’s fair for the medical users at this point in time that have to pay a ridiculously marked up price to “obtain legally” when its 10 feet out your front door, in any neighborhood, for 3 times less.

    We’re getting there. Slowly.