Medical Cannabis
Medical Cannabis

What is Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis is a genus of plant with a number of different species. Sativa and indica are the two most common cannabis species. The term “medical cannabis” is used to describe products derived from the whole cannabis plant or its extracts containing active cannabinoids and terpenes.

The major active and commonly known cannabinoid compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds work together to yield the best results. They are opposite to each other yet complimentary. The key is to find the ratio that is effective for the patients needs.
What Is the Difference Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis?
Patients taking cannabis for medical reasons generally use cannabinoids to alleviate symptoms while minimizing side effects, whereas recreational users may be taking cannabis for euphoric effects.

Medical cannabis is authorized by a prescriber and your pharmacist provides education, guided dosing management and monitoring to help ensure safe and appropriate use.

Medical cannabis is obtained through a Licensed Producer who is authorized and regulated under federal and provincial laws to produce medical cannabis and adhere to good production practices, quality assurance and testing.

What Are Potential Uses For Medical Cannabis?
connecthedots Medical cannabis may be used to alleviate symptoms for a variety of conditions. There is limited, but developing clinical evidence surrounding its safety and efficacy, and it does not currently have an approved Health Canada indication. Medical cannabis may be used for the management of symptoms associated with a wide variety of conditions that have not responded to conventional therapies such as[2]:
Chronic pain
Arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders
Anxiety and depression
Mobility improvement in movement disorders (i.e. Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome & Huntington’s disease)
Sleep disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Treatment of resistant nausea and vomiting
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Muscle spasm due to multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) & spinal cord injury
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD; i.e. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative coltis, IBS)
Epilepsy (seizures)
Who Should Not Use Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis should not be used if you[1]:
  • Are under the age of 25
  • Are allergic to any cannabinoid or to smoke
  • Have serious liver, kidney, heart or lung disease
  • Have a personal or family history of serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, or bipolar disorder
  • Are pregnant, are planning to get pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • Have a history of alcohol or drug abuse or substance dependence
Talk to your pharmacist and health care practitioner if you have any of these conditions. There may be other conditions where this product should not be used, but which are unknown due to limited scientific information. Cannabis may interact with several drugs. Make sure to tell your pharmacist and health care practitioner which prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs or herbal products you are currently taking.

What Are Potential Side Effects Of Medical Cannabis?
medical cannabis used and the concentration of cannabinoids in the cannabis product; the frequency of cannabis use; the patient’s age; the medical conditions being treated; previous experience with cannabis or cannabinoids; and the use of other prescription or non-prescription drugs. The information on side effects associated with medical use of cannabis is limited. Some of known side effects of use of cannabis are intoxication-like reactions including: dizziness, dry mouth, mood-alterations, insomnia, increased heartbeat and fatigue. This is not a complete list of side effects. For more information, please read Health Canada “Consumer Information - Cannabis (Marihuana, marijuana)”[1] available online.
How Do I Take Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis can be smoked, vaporized, taken orally, sublingually, topically or rectally. Different routes of administration will result in different pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the drug.

The two most common forms of administering medical cannabis are ingestion of cannabis oil and vapourization of dried cannabis.
Vaporizing (Inhaling)
Vapourizing medical cannabis can provide:
  • Rapid onset of action occurs at 1-5 minutes and lasts generally 2-4 hours (short-term relief)
  • Smaller amounts of toxic by-products vs. smoking
  • Greater bioavailability vs. ingesting
Oral Ingestion
Oral ingestion of medical cannabis can provide:
  • Slower onset and longer duration of action from 30 minutes to 3 hours and can last generally 8+ hours
    (long-term relief)
  • Greater precision and consistency of dosing
  • Easy to administer in mouth droplet or capsule
Start Low And Go Slow
Whether using a vapourizer or ingesting edible oil, the general guideline is to start low and go slow. Start with a very low dose and stop therapy and tell your pharmacist or healthcare practitioner if any unacceptable or undesirable side effects occur.
Is Medical Cannabis Covered Through Insurance?
Some insurance plans may cover medical cannabis. Check with your provider.

How Do I Obtain Medical Cannabis?
Talk to your Pharmacist and, if medical cannabis is right for you, complete the Licensed Producer’s Registration and the Medical Consultation forms
Your Pharmacist can help you schedule your appointment and will forward the necessary documentation to an authorized healthcare practitioner for a medical consultation.
See your healthcare practitioner for a medical assessment. Your healthcare practitioner will complete and submit the original Medical Document to the Licensed Producer and forward a copy to your pharmacist.
Follow-up with your pharmacist to review your medical cannabis treatment plan. Your pharmacist will also assist you with placing your order for medical cannabis with the Licensed Producer and schedule a follow-up appointment to review your progress.