How a Simple Cheek Swab Could Tell Doctors If Pot Works for You

(Bloomberg) -- One of Canada’s largest medical marijuana producers is betting that a new test will encourage more physicians to prescribe pot to patients.

Markham, Ontario-based MedReleaf Corp. has developed a genetic test that allows doctors to use a cheek swab to analyze whether a patient will respond to medical cannabis, and if so, what dose and products work best. Only about 10 percent to 15 percent of doctors are currently prescribing marijuana as many have no idea what or how much to prescribe, Chief Executive Officer Neil Closner said.

“Without knowing how much to prescribe, many of them are saying I’m not going to prescribe,” Closner said in a telephone interview. The new test “will help to dramatically increase the comfort that physicians can have,” he said.

The medical marijuana market in Canada could be worth C$1.8 billion ($1.4 billion) by 2021, according to Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.

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