Health Canada has warned consumers that the plant has not been tested for health risks in Canada and warned that it could be contaminated with mould and bacteria.
The department has also said that its regulatory framework for medical cannabis is too weak to ensure it is safe for recreational use.
Read more The agency said that because the cannabis plant contains no THC, the psychoactive chemical that makes people high, it cannot be tested for toxicity.
And because there is no medical evidence to support its use in Canada, the government says it is not ready to make decisions about it for recreational and medicinal purposes.
But health experts and patients say it is time for the federal government to step up and take the lead.
“I think the government has done a very poor job of communicating the message,” said Dr. Jason Ransom, chief medical officer at the Toronto Public Health Association.
“I think it’s been very disappointing.
The message has been to ignore the cannabis industry and its medical potential, and to put off any consideration of this industry until the end of the legislative term.”
Health Canada has repeatedly said that the cannabis is safe, but the agency says it has no way of knowing that.
In fact, the department is not even sure it has tested it.
And it says the cannabis it tests for is a mix of different strains of cannabis that it has already tested for, and that it doesn’t have any idea how it will react to people with chronic illnesses or conditions.
Dr. Ransom said it’s not just a matter of not knowing what the plant can do, but of not testing for it at all.
“It’s not something that you can test for at home and say ‘OK, here’s the strain of cannabis and here’s how it reacts to the test,'” he said.
“There’s no way to tell what the THC level is, or how it’s going to affect your health.
It’s really just about not testing it.”
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said last month that the government was “actively exploring” cannabis.
She said that while Health Canada is “taking a lot of steps” to ensure that the federal legislation regarding cannabis is “effective,” she’s still trying to figure out what to do with the vast amount of medical cannabis currently being grown in Canada.
“We are working very hard to determine how we can best provide access to medical cannabis for patients who need it,” she said at the time.
“The health and safety of Canadians is our top priority and we are actively exploring the best way to provide that access.
We are actively looking at how we may be able to provide cannabis to patients with a diagnosis that has not received a diagnosis or a recommendation, so that they can access the medicine that is needed to manage their conditions.”
However, Ransom disagrees.
“To be clear, I think the federal regulators are taking a very, very good look at the situation and I think there are a lot more people in the world than we’re even aware of that are actually growing medical cannabis,” he said, adding that he thinks Health Canada will “be able to take a very good start” in regulating cannabis.
“But they need to be able take a really good start.”
A spokesperson for Health Canada told The Canadian Press that the agency has “a long-standing relationship with the medical cannabis industry, and has developed a robust system that will enable physicians to prescribe the product responsibly, and allow patients to access it safely and effectively.”
“We have an active dialogue with medical cannabis providers and will continue to work with them on this important issue,” she added.
Dr Robert Hargrave, an infectious diseases physician and professor at the University of Toronto, says Health Canada should have done more to help patients get access to medicinal cannabis.
“They should have taken a closer look at what the risks were and what the benefits were,” he told The Associated Press.
“They should be more careful than they are right now.”
“This is a product that is highly addictive, that has very high potential for abuse, and it should be controlled.”
Hargrave said Health Canada needs to ensure there is a clear path to patients accessing cannabis that does not lead to addiction.
“This whole issue of medicinal cannabis and cannabis, it’s like a dangerous drug.
It can be very addictive,” he added.”
And there are many patients that are in need of it, and they should be able access it and have the right to do so without being exposed to addiction.”
The federal government has been unable to reach a deal with the provinces and territories to expand access to cannabis for medical purposes.
The federal government’s medical cannabis program has been cut from $2.8 billion to $2 billion since March, and the federal Liberal government has proposed raising taxes on high-cost producers, while cutting $1.5 billion from the medical pot program in order to close a $2-billion deficit.
Dr Ransom also said he believes that the Canadian government needs to act sooner