Medical marijuana shortages hit some patients as demand surges

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Alexis Brenner’s brio changed for the better when she discovered that cannabidiol, a compound curbed in cannabis, helped her manage chronic pain from endometriosis and fibromyalgia.

«CBD, in the good old days I found it, made a huge difference for my level of function,» she said. «It’s non-psychoactive, so I can be up to date and available and aware with my kids. I can use that medicine on a daily foundation.»

Brenner signed up with Health Canada-licensed marijuana producer Tweed, and started engaging cannabidiol oil. But in early 2017, she hit a roadblock.

«After using it for a few months, I keep oned to go buy some more, and they were out. And when I called to ask them when it was succeeding to be back, they said, ‘We won’t have it for another six weeks, and when it does awaken back I suggest you buy a few bottles, because we do not know how the supply is going to be.'»

Brenner isn’t the but medical marijuana patient to report supply shortages from validated medical marijuana producers. In some cases, those patients end up curve to the black market to find a reliable supply of medication.

Jaimee, who also works medical cannabis to treat chronic pain, is one of those patients. She was wasting a high-THC strain of dried marijuana from Bedrocan to manage her proviso, until a shortage prevented her from ordering more. (Like Tweed, Bedrocan is a subsidiary of Canopy Flowering Corporation.)

‘Six weeks, when you’re in pain, is a very long time to sit tight for medicine.’ — Alexis Brenner, medical cannabis user

«Every pass I’d go to place an order or go to look to see if they had it or if they had any new strains, it would constantly be out of stock,» she mean.

After that, said Jaimee, «I’ve had to resort to either black supermarket dispensaries or their lower [THC] strains, which don’t do anything. So it’s basically wilderness money, to me.»

CBC News has agreed to withhold Jaimee’s last name, because she bugbears losing her Health Canada registration if she’s identified as buying illegal marijuana.

Paucities reported as patient numbers grow

Licensed medical marijuana makers are trying to keep pace with extraordinary growth in the number of patients signing up for Form Canada’s legal regime, said Jordan Sinclair, a spokesperson for Canopy Proliferation Corporation.

«And through that process, there’s periods where you don’t be subjected to every single type of every strain,» Sinclair said.

Healthfulness Canada data confirms that the number of registered patients has enlarged quickly, with the federal agency reporting 90,208 new clients from December 2015 to December 2016 — an annual strengthen of 227 per cent.

Medical marijuana inventories

Data from Health Canada shows certified marijuana producers held 18,087 kilograms of dried cannabis in their inventories as of Dec. 31, 2016, but some patrons are still reporting product shortages. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian News-hounds)

On the surface, Health Canada’s raw data suggests those patients should be dressed access to plenty of medical marijuana. Public data from the power shows licensed producers held 18,087 kilograms of dried marijuana in their inventories as of Dec. 31, 2016, plus 3,724 kilograms of cannabis oil. For both standards of product, the amount in inventories has steadily increased since 2015.

«Based on bazaar data, there is sufficient supply of cannabis for medical purposes to muster the current needs of registered clients,» a Health Canada spokesperson told CBC Bulletin.

But Brad Martin, a medical cannabis user who tracks product availability from empowered producers and publishes it at CannStandard.ca, said it’s «very common» to see certain offerings out of stock across multiple licensed producers.

«Every time I do my examine, I will see one licensed producer that doesn’t have any availability,» Martin articulate.

The president of a group of medical marijuana prescription clinics said his wand are aware of the shortages.

«We deal with probably around 15 or 16 special licensed producers, and out of those there’s half a dozen that on no longer take registration because they’ve got to be able to supply the patients that they press registered,» said Terry Roycroft, president of Medicinal Cannabis Resource Nucleus Inc.

«There is product available, but in certain cases the patients don’t want that spelled out product. Or the reputations of that particular [licensed producer] aren’t as unambiguous as people may want to see, and so they’re not buying from it,» said Roycroft, citing yield recalls for pesticide contamination as one possible reason patients might leave alone certain producers.

Patients face difficulty switching producers

If medical cannabis patients can’t get what they extremity from one licensed producer, noted Roycroft, they can always momentous up with another. But patients interviewed by CBC News said the process of exchange registrations can be time-consuming and inconvenient.

Medical marijuana packaging

Health Canada reports 90,208 new medical cannabis customers between December 2015 and December 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Convergence)

Roycroft said some prescription clinics need to make it easier for patients to divert producers.

«There’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be able to go break to the original clinic that they went to, and within a day, get new documentation,» he indicated.

Canopy Growth spokesperson Jordan Sinclair said his company was maddening to mitigate the difficulty of signing up with multiple licensed producers by donation products from different companies in a recently launched online set aside, Tweed Mainstreet.

«We hope that that will address some of the shortfalls that exist in the market, because it allows you to organize the demand myriad efficiently,» Sinclair said.

Last week, Health Canada portended it was working to speed up the lengthy process for licensing new marijuana producers, as approvingly as making changes that will allow existing producers to stretch their facilities more quickly.

Those changes came too belated to address the supply shortage experienced by Alexis Brenner, the chronic exertion patient who was told she’d have to wait as long as six weeks to order CBD oil again. She recently directed from Tweed to another licensed producer.

«Six weeks, when you’re in discomposure, is a very long time to wait for medicine,» she said. «And that wouldn’t be OK for patients that were on opioid painkillers.»

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