MEDICAL CANNABIS FAQ
If you’re new to medical cannabis, chances are you’ve got some questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about medical cannabis. Need more answers? Contact a qualified healthcare practitioner for a free consultation.
Medical cannabis is the medical use of the cannabis plant (Cannabis Sativa) to treat diseases, symptoms and conditions. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the two main cannabinoids used in medical cannabis. Although they are similar in their chemical composition, THC and CBD have dramatically different effects on the brain and body receptors. CBD is non-intoxicating, and when used for medical purposes, has the potential to relieve patients of discomfort without affecting cognitive abilities. THC, on the other hand, is the psychoactive part of marijuana, known for its mind-altering effects or “getting you high”. Research on THC has shown its potential for treating some symptoms like nausea, chronic pain, spinal injury and more. The CBD compound found in medical marijuana has been found beneficial due to its binding properties to the human brain’s endocannabinoid system. This helps in managing chronic pain, modulating the immune system, and many other benefits.
Research has shown that cannabis has less addiction potential than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. It should be noted that long-term or frequent marijuana abuse can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Experts believe that higher THC levels and increased usage can increase the likelihood of dependence. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is gaining popularity as a substitute to over-the- counter medication and used for several issues like providing relief for patients who suffer from chronic pain, cancer, and others.
Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001. On October 17, 2018 cannabis has been made easier to purchase by Canadians from licensed producers. For more accurate and the latest information, visit the Government of Canada page here.
Reported side effects of medical marijuana include dizziness, fast heartbeat, confusion, impaired perception or motor skills, irritation, dry mouth, coughing, intoxication-like effects, drowsiness. It is advised to consult with a doctor regarding other possible side effects, and to learn more about what action should be taken if you experience any unexpected reactions.
A healthcare practitioner will assess your condition individually in order to determine if you are a candidate for medical cannabis. If you are classified as an eligible candidate, the healthcare practitioner can tell you which product will work best for the condition you want to treat. You will be sent a Medical Document to purchase medical cannabis from a licensed producer. To talk to a healthcare practitioner for free click here.
Using cannabidiol (CBD) oil is growing in popularity particularly among patients living with acute or chronic pain. CBD oil can help reduce pain by stimulating the body’s natural endocannabinoid system which is responsible for how pain is experienced. CBD oil also promotes better sleep, suppresses inflammatory pain, manages side effects caused by cancer treatments, relieves migraine headaches among other conditions. It is advised to contact a healthcare practitioner to learn more about the benefits of CBD oil and if it will help with your specific condition.
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After you’ve been assessed by a healthcare practitioner, you will be issued a Medical Document to purchase your authorized medical cannabis from a licensed producer. The medical document, or prescription, will be sent to the licensed producer, who will ship your medication to you directly within a week. To talk to a healthcare practitioner for free click here.
Medical cannabis is currently not covered by OHIP and does not have a DIN number. As for insurance companies, the conditions are considered case-by-case and should be checked accordingly. While some insurance companies do offer medical cannabis as part of their group benefits it is up to the individual employer to allow their employees to access that benefit as part of their plan. Medical cannabis is considered a medical expense by the CRA. You can claim the money spent as long as you have the receipt of your medication which should also be purchased from a legal licensed producer.
Taking cannabis, or any product containing cannabis, across Canada's international borders, whether you are leaving or entering Canada, is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad. You cannot bring cannabis into or take cannabis out of Canada. Travellers are responsible for learning about the laws of the countries they intend to visit. Visit Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories for information on your destination.
While medical cannabis plants are grown organically for their CBD components, they do contain some THC levels. THC is not just a recreational substance and like CBD, it has therapeutic benefits as well. It’s important to know that THC and CBD have different effects on the mind and body when used.
When it comes to medical cannabis products, combining THC and CBD can be more effective depending on the health condition it is intended for. Products with higher CBD and lower THC levels provide health benefits without getting you high. Talk to a healthcare practitioner to know more about the best CBD and THC levels in medical cannabis, for your specific health condition.