Can Mary Jane Help Save Our Healthcare System?

October 12, 2012

By: Dani Stern

There I was, standing in an incredibly long line, waiting to renew my health card. For convenience sake, I had chosen an office in Scarborough and, other than one other woman in the line, I was the only person who was not a new immigrant to Canada. To my mortification, that young lady started muttering and complaining to all about her wait. What I heard her say, with a huge sigh, was “What can you expect from the Canadian Healthcare System?”

Personally, I have many issues with what she said, primarily that we were standing in an OHIP    office. The ‘O’, for any who do not know, stands for Ontario. Our healthcare is provincial, not federal. Secondly, although our healthcare system is not perfect, in fact it is quite far from ideal, at least we have one. Looking around me, all I could see were Asians, Orientals and Africans who were about to receive free healthcare for the first time in their lives. Their reactions to her ravings were similar to mine. There was rolling of eyes and shaking of heads, to which she seemed oblivious. She did not even notice the collective sigh as an OHIP agent offered anyone who was renewing an OHIP card to step into another line for quicker service. The line was two people long, the          complainer and I.

As a Canadian and Ontarian, I am proud to be in a place that has a healthcare system, although I do have a suggestion for its improvement. Why not take some of the burden off the Ontario Drug Benefits Program, by prescribing medical marijuana instead of some of the expensive                     pharmaceuticals that Canadians, especially seniors, are now taking. Medical marijuana has been shown to help combat  symptoms and side effects from cancer chemotherapy management, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS symptomatic management, migraines, multiple sclerosis, pain, severe arthritis as well as spinal cord injury disease, to name just a few.

In the past few years, Canada’s seniors are becoming more     educated as to the benefits of medical marijuana with the help of consumer shows such as the Treating Yourself Expo in  Toronto. Many seniors find that it is difficult to function properly while on prescription drugs, whether physically or mentally. Medical marijuana does not have such harsh side effects and can be ingested or vaporized, rather than smoked, which causes harmful carcinogens. Television’s Montel Williams has fought for years to use marijuana for his multiple sclerosis, citing that the drugs that he was    prescribed by doctors caused him not to be able to function in his daily life.

With so many benefits of medical marijuana, the biggest benefit is that it is very inexpensive compared to pharmaceuticals. Would that money not better be spent in Ontario on more medical staff and better equipment?

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