Alberta’s medical marijuana patients double in first quarter

The number of registered medical marijuana patients in Alberta doubled, and the number of doctors prescribing MMJ rose 50% in the first quarter of this year, indicating the drug is becoming more accessible to the province’s 4.1 million people.

The increases bode well for Canada’s MMJ companies and offer a sneak preview of business prospects for the country’s impending legalization of recreational marijuana next summer.

There were 329 doctors registered to prescribe medical cannabis at the end of 2016, and that number increased to 495 in the first three months of 2017, CBC News reported.

The province’s overall share of Canada’s MMJ patients also rose 50% in the same period.

Alberta’s 5,254 registered MMJ patients represented just 4% of Canada’s 129,876 MMJ patients at the end of 2016. But by the end of the first quarter, the province’s 9,995 patients made up about 6% of Canada’s 167,754 patients, according to the news outlet.

Calgary-based Dr. Lori Montgomery told CBC that more doctors are open to the idea of prescribing MMJ because they have more information.

“We have a lot more opportunities to figure out how to instruct patients about safer patterns of use, probably as compared to a year ago,” she said.