President & CEO, CFAMM
James O’Hara — a medical cannabis patient, and President and CEO of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) — is one of Canada’s most celebrated industry activists. Malay Panchal — a registered pharmacist and CEO of PureSinse — is an expert on patient education. Mediaplanet sat down with both of them to discuss what’s next for cannabis in Canada.
Why should medical patients be the number one priority for the cannabis industry?
Malay Panchal (MP): Canada’s population is aging and with that comes a number of health care challenges. With medical cannabis, we have an opportunity to reduce our burden on the traditional health care system and improve patients’ quality of life. A lot of attention has gone to the recreational side since October, but we can’t forget about medical patients.
Why is collaboration between the cannabis industry and the medical community so important?
James O’Hara (JO): Cannabis has been kept in the dark for decades. But now we’re in a new era of discovery, so it’s crucial for those two groups to come together and work towards the shared goal of healthier communities, more robust research, and innovative solutions for patients.
How can we better educate the medical community about cannabis?
MP: What we need is a full-circle approach to education, with all professions in the space including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and everyone else collaborating and learning from each other. Pharmacists, in particular, are faced with questions from patients every day — we need to be prepared.
In your mind, what does an ideal medical cannabis system look like?
JO: Honestly, it would be the same as everything else. We’d have the same institutions, processes, educational facilities and programming as anything else in the medical world.
What advice would you give to current and prospective medical cannabis patients?
MP: Advocate for yourself, advocate for your heath, and advocate for your right to effective treatment.