In a report issued in late June, Health Canada provided market data on cannabis for medical purposes, with nearly all measured parameters showing very substantial increases over the one-year period of April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.
Comparing first and fourth quarters, the amount of dried cannabis sold to patients increased 125%, (1,371 kg to 3,082 kg). Comparable production increased 116% (1,867 kg to 4,037 kg), while inventories at Licensed Producers (LPs) grew 96%, to 10,695 kg.
There were 23,930 registered medical cannabis patients at the end of June, 2015, a figure that by the end of March, 2016 had grown to 53,649– a 125% increase.*
Production of cannabis oils (extracts) skyrocketed by 597% between Q3 (128 kg) and Q4 (1421 kg), as more LPs gained authorization to manufacture and sell extracts. The growing popularity of extracts may be attributable to dosing standards more familiar to physicians, as well as by patient demand.
The only statistic that showed any degree of reduction was the average amount of cannabis per client shipment (a measure of usage rate), which went from 1.08 grams/day to 1.03 grams/day.
These figures support speculation that acceptance of cannabis as a viable treatment option is growing widely and quickly in Canada. This may be attributable to a number of factors, among them: 1) word of mouth among patients and their acquaintances about the positive outcomes of cannabis treatment, 2) further education of healthcare practitioners by representatives of Licensed Producers, which increases understanding and inspires a greater willingness to consider recommending cannabis to patients, and 3) increased media exposure that has portrayed medical cannabis in a positive light, influencing more patients to ask their healthcare practitioners about it.
Whatever the causes, this change in attitudes and behaviour must be seen as progress in the noble quest to alleviate human suffering.
Further detail of the report can be seen here.
*For comparison, the number of patients from June, 2014 to the end of May, 2015, increased by 10,598. During the same months 2015/2016, patient count increased by 29,719.