SCIO Community Magazine
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Higher Learning

At the start of the year, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario embarked on an exciting journey to bring open and frank conversations to our communities on cannabis and spinal cord injury.

What transpired was mesmerizing – nearly 300 community members from across the province registered for three unique webinars focused on education, empowerment and making informed, evidence-based decisions. We were so lucky to have these conversations hosted and moderated by Kristen Cameron, a member of our incredible Peer Program team.

Aphria Educates logoWe are so grateful to the spectacular show of support from Aphria Inc. and their Aphria Educates program.

“We are proud to work with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO) to provide a forum where SCIO clients can share and discuss information and their lived experiences. Many people curious about medical cannabis as a therapeutic option aren’t sure where to turn to for reliable information or how to navigate the health care system – we hope that this educational series involving health care practitioners and those living with a spinal cord injury will support SCIO clients in getting the information they need.” – Denise Faltischek, Chief Strategy Officer, Head of Canadian and International Medical Business.

“Many people curious about medical cannabis as a therapeutic option aren’t sure where to turn to for reliable information or how to navigate the health care system…”

Between February and April, we were honoured to have insightful health care practitioners join us.

In the first webinar, Dr. Eldon Loh provided us with a thrilling and measured introduction on cannabis and how it may be an option for people living with spinal cord injury managing chronic and neuropathic pain, spasms and even mental health. We also heard from Oda Al-anazi, Information & Resource Specialist at Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, who offered valuable lessons on cannabis use derived from his personal experiences as a user and advocate.

In the next webinar, Dr. Danial Schechter and Dr. Colleen O’Connell took us through several case studies of people living with spinal cord injury and their experiences with medical cannabis. It was fascinating to learn how people, over time, and with the support of their doctors, started using cannabis as an alternative therapy. In one case study, a gentleman had complex musculoskeletal pain (he was ambulatory despite lower limb weakness and multiple joint and soft tissue injuries). With medical guidance, he started using cannabis as a therapeutic alternative and, eventually, stopped using nabilone. It was riveting to watch these doctors discuss these complex and sometimes complicated cases and the role that cannabinoids had in their care.

The final webinar walked our clients through on how to navigate the health care system if they decided to explore cannabis. Ambassadors from Aphria Educates walked us through how to talk to your physician, access a prescription, choose a producer and understand pricing and potential coverage (such as insurance and compassionate pricing).

Thanks to Aphria Inc. and their education team for collaborating on such stellar, evidence-based learning.

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By: Lali Mohamed | Spring 2021

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