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Physicians’ Perspectives on Cannabis Legalization – One year later

By Rahim Shah, VP Client Services

October 8, 2019

In October 2018, the use of recreational cannabis was legalized across Canada. Looking back at the past year, physicians remain divided in their views towards this new legislation, though support skews towards younger GPs. This legislation has impacted the use of prescription treatments and patient visits in a number of key therapeutic areas, though not to the degree that was anticipated 12 months ago. See the infographic for insights into Canadian physicians’ perspectives on the legalization of recreational cannabis.

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Half of all GPs have observed an increase in recreational cannabis users within their practice. Support and opposition of the legalization of recreational cannabis is consistent across Canada. Supporters of the legislation are more likely to be younger physicians.

GPs have observed a decline in patient visits related to prescriptions for anxiety and severe stress (13%), chronic pain (17%) and insomnia (12%).  GPs have observed an increase in certain conditions/symptoms as a result of recreational cannabis use: anxiety, fear/panic (33%), dependence/misuse (32%), psychotic symptoms (27%) and effects on the brain (26%).

Despite the polarizing nature of this issue, supporters of recreational cannabis tend to skew younger, suggesting that acceptance of recreational cannabis is likely to remain, if not grow.

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