A medicinal cannabis activist in Prince Edward Island is asking the province to relax the rules surrounding the use of the substance in hospitals and public care homes.
It is forbidden to smoke cannabis in a hospital setting and health care workers are not allowed to help patients to consume products derived from the substance, such as oil or tablets.
“It’s their medicine,” says Dennis MacKenzie, an activist for better access to medicinal cannabis in Prince Edward Island. “Often, people who are [in the hospital or in a home] have mobility issues [and] are not able to administer their own medications. ”
According to the activist, there is still too much stigma around the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
No change on the horizon
Health PEI however, does not intend, for now, to change its cannabis policies in its facilities.
Inpatients must leave the hospital grounds to smoke cannabis as they would to smoke tobacco, while residents of public long-term care facilities must be outdoors in a designated area.
When a patient has a prescription for medicinal cannabis in the form of oil or tablets, the hospital or public home keeps the substance in a safe place and brings it to the patient at his request, but no more.
“The staff will bring medicinal cannabis to the patient so he can administer it himself,” says a spokesperson for Health PEI. in an email. “Staff are not allowed to administer or help administer medicinal cannabis. The patient is entirely responsible for the administration and consumption of the product. ”
Different approach in the private
However, the situation is different in some private care homes.
The PEI Seniors Homes group treats cannabis for medicinal purposes just like any other drug, says company spokesman Jason Lee. “We provide storage [of the substance], the renewal of prescriptions and we administer the medicine as recommended,” he says.
Few residents of PEI Seniors Homes use cannabis for medicinal purposes, according to facility owners. However, they expect to see an increase in the number of prescriptions after Ottawa’s legalization of the substance for recreational purposes, scheduled for later this year.