Cannabis is medicine. That may seem like a simple statement, yet despite an ever-growing mountain of evidence to support the claim, cannabis is often not treated as actual medicine. Many states in the U.S. and countries around the world continue to view cannabis as possessing no medical value.

Most professional sports leagues do not recognize the medical benefits of cannabis. Even in places where cannabis is legal for medical use and/or adult-use, cannabis is often not treated the same way as other medicines. Why is that?

Canada’s Arthritis Society came out recently calling for cannabis to be treated like other medicines, including a call for Canadian pharmacies to sell medical cannabis. Per CBC:

Canada’s Arthritis Society is taking advantage of the federal election to lobby the federal parties to change some of the ways medical marijuana is handled.

They’re asking the parties to commit to lift the $1 a gram federal excise tax, and have medical cannabis dispensed only at pharmacies.

“Just like other prescription medications,” said Jone Mitchell, the society’s executive director for Atlantic Canada.

“That will ensure that patients receive reliable education from trained health care professionals on the safe and effective use. And they also have an understanding of the other medications their patients may be taking.”

It would be convenient for patients to be able to purchase cannabis through pharmacies. Germany’s medical cannabis model is built on sales at pharmacies. For many patients, making their purchases at pharmacies would be ideal.

However, pharmacies should not be given the monopoly when it comes to medical cannabis sales. Not every patient can get to a pharmacy, which is why pharmacies should be one of the safe access options for patients, but not the only one. For some patients, other options are better for their particular situation.

One out of every five people over the age of 15 in Canada suffers from arthritis. Studies have found that cannabis can be an effective treatment for arthritis.