Medical Marijuana Scores High in National Canada Survey

November 02, 2006

, SooNews (Canada)

Medical marijuana is making its mark in mainstream Canadian society. According to a recent national survey commissioned by Cannasat Therapeutics Inc. and conducted by Maritz Research,80 per cent of Canadians believe that adults should be allowed to legally use medical marijuana if recommended by a physician. The survey also found that a majority of Canadians are aware that medical marijuana is legally available through Health Canada for treating everything from cancer to multiple sclerosis.

Survey results also indicate that two out of three Canadians would use medical marijuana if recommended by their doctor. A growing acceptance among younger Canadians concerning the therapeutic benefits is reflected in the fact that 86 per cent of Canadians aged 18-29 years believe in marijuana's medicinal use, compared with 76 per cent of those aged 30 and up. Acceptance of medical marijuana increases with the level of education and household income.

It may be the person next door...

The survey also reveals that 15 per cent of Canadians know someone who uses marijuana for medical reasons. The most common conditions mentioned are cancer followed by multiple sclerosis, severe arthritis, epilepsy and HIV/AIDS.

"Medical marijuana can be remarkably beneficial for those who are suffering," says Moses Znaimer, Chairman, Cannasat therapeutics. "Although medicinal marijuana usage dates back thousands of years, we are just beginning to see its applications in a modern context."

Although it is difficult to determine exactly how many self-prescribing medical marijuana users there are in Canada (the first country in the world to allow legal access), a general population survey conducted in 2001 by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that an estimated 400,000 Canadians may be using marijuana for medical purposes.

Cannasat (CTH), a publicly-traded company listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange, has long advocated the therapeutic potential of marijuana and the development of cannabis-based medicines. Established in 2004, Cannasat has since witnessed the number of Canadians licensed by Health Canada under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) grow to approximately 1,500.

Prairie Plant Systems, a company in which Cannasat is invested, has been Canada's only government-licensed grower and distributor of medicinal cannabis since December 2000.

Canadians are research savvy

In the past ten years, research has revealed more than 460 chemical constituents in the cannabis plant, of which more than 60 are unique and have since been classified as "cannabinoids". The best understood of these cannabinoids is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. It is one of the many molecules that react with receptors in the body's nervous and immune systems to produce the medicinal effects of marijuana. Of Canadians surveyed, three-quarters are aware that there is scientific evidence supporting the medical use of marijuana. And though development efforts to create a conventional pharmaceutical product that might be delivered in alternative forms (e.g. sprays, inhalers, tablets, creams, etc.) have only recently begun, 27 per cent already claim awareness of these endeavors.

"This survey confirms our preliminary market research, namely that Canadians are open to, and aware of, medical marijuana," adds Znaimer. "Yet a full understanding of its potential is just beginning. We anticipate that demand will increase when both patients and physicians are better educated about the therapeutic benefits, as well as its availability through Health Canada's MMAR program."

What's next? Developing a marijuana-based prescription product

As one of the world leaders in the development of cannabinoid-based drugs, Cannasat is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the field of research and development. The company has completed proof-of-concept development for its lead product, CAT 310, to treat neuropathic pain and is preparing for human clinical trials in 2007. Affecting 26 million people worldwide, neuropathic pain is one of the most difficult forms of pain to treat - only 50 per cent of patients respond to current treatment options. As such, there is a large unmet need for new therapies.

 

"Our goal is to mimic the rapid onset of therapeutic results from inhaled cannabis in a more effective dosage form," says David Hill, Cannasat CEO. "We are very excited as we approach our first human dosing studies. Moving from pre-clinical work in the lab to human clinical studies will be the most significant achievement of our company to date."

 

Medical marijuana survey findings

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·         58% of Canadians are aware of the availability of medical marijuana from Health Canada

·         Females are more aware than males: 60% vs. 54%

·         Regionally, awareness is highest in Quebec (67%) and Saskatchewan 64%) and lowest in Ontario (53%) and Manitoba (51%)

·         Awareness increases with age: Canadians 50+ have higher awareness than 18-49 year olds

·         80% of Canadians believe that adults should be able to use medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation; more men (83%) agree than women (77%)

·         Acceptance of medical marijuana use if recommended by a physician is very high with 86% of those 18-29 believing it should be allowed vs. 79% of those 30 years of age and over

·         Those with household incomes of $40,000 and over are most likely to believe it should be allowed, if recommended by a physician (85%), as compared to those with household incomes under $40,000 (76%)

·         75% of Canadians claim awareness of scientific evidence that supports the use of medical marijuana

·         Awareness of scientific evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana is highest among 18-29 year olds (83%) while those 30 and over are close behind (74%)

·         Of all respondents, 64% would use a non-smokeable prescription drug product containing the medical benefits of marijuana if recommended by their doctor.

·         More males (69%) than females (59%) would use a non-smokeable prescription product, with willingness highest among 18-29 year olds (72%) and decreasing with age; 65% among 30-49 year olds and 58%

·         Among those 50 and over 15% of Canadians know someone who uses marijuana for medical purposes

·         Awareness of all aspects of medical marijuana generally increases with income and education

 

A total of 2,006 Canadians, 18 years and older, were surveyed between September 28 and October 4, 2006. Results are accurate to within +/- 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The research was conducted as part of Omnitel, the national omnibus of Maritz Research on behalf of Cannasat Therapeutics Inc.



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