Arthritis Society holds public forum on medical cannabis in Windsor

Filed under: In Our Community |

by Adam Gault

With the public perception about the use of medical cannabis seemingly becoming more receptive across the country, the Arthritis Society held an open forum on the subject on Wednesday, January 31 at Windsor’s Caboto Club. The event was held to discuss the impact medical cannabis can have on those suffering from arthritis and other chronic conditions.

“Tonight’s event is to provide an information session to people in the community about medical cannabis, what we know, and what more research is required,” Janet Yale, CEO of the Arthritis Society, said. “And to make people feel comfortable that this may be a treatment that’s appropriate for them, and if it is, how they can go about getting it.”

For more than 15 years, medical cannabis has been a legal treatment option in Canada for those who qualify for its medical prescriptions. In any Canadians who use medical cannabis do so to manage the symptoms of arthritis, making the condition the most common chronic condition pain-managed with medical cannabis.

“We found out that over 50 percent of people who use medical cannabis did it for arthritis pain,” Yale said. “We want people to have their pain taken seriously, and it turns out that for a lot of people with chronic arthritis pain, medical cannabis is a really good source of pain alleviation. We want people to overcome the stigma associated with using it as medicine.”

The forum also provided the opportunity to address several misconceptions surrounding medical cannabis usage, including the legitimacy of the substance as an effective medical treatment.

“I think the misconception is that it’s not medicine, and that people are just using it to get high to forget their pain,” Yale said. “Most people who use medical cannabis use one that’s very low in THC, and much higher in CBD, which is the pain alleviation side, not the high side, if you will.

That’s one of the key myths we want to overcome. That it’s not about getting high, it’s about the medicine and the pain alleviation that goes with taking this as part of an overall treatment regime.”

As advocates for medical cannabis, the Arthritis Society wants to make medical treatment an affordable option for all Canadians requiring medical cannabis usage. In leading that charge, they’re making some changes to their own workplace benefits plan as of February 1.

“We are going to be providing benefits coverage for our employees [who] use medical cannabis, as a way to say that we want to make it affordable, and we think other employers should do the same, so that people aren’t out of pocket for their medical cannabis compared to other drugs that might be covered under their benefits plan,” Yale said. “We’re going to lead by example, and show everyone how it can be done.”

For further information, tools, and resources regarding the Arthritis Society’s medical cannabis initiative, visit: