Frequently Asked Questions
Is Medical Cannabis legal in Canada?
Since 2001 Health Canada has approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Currently, there are a number of Licensed Producers that are regulated by Health Canada to sell Medical Cannabis to Canadians.
To possess and use Medical Marijuana, you must first obtain authorization from a regulated health professional. Prescriptions for medical marijuana can be secured through our online service. Get the process started by booking an appointment now.
What is Medical Cannabis and how does it work?
Medical Cannabis (or Medical Marijuana) is made from the leaves, flowers, and buds of the Cannabis plant.
There are two main active components: CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
CBD is used as a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent to relieve pain and other neurological symptoms, without any intoxicating effects to the patient.
THC is also used to treat pain and offers relief from a variety of conditions such as insomnia and anxiety. THC, however, is the component that will make patients feel “high” or impaired.
What are the possible side effects of Medical Cannabis?
Side effects of medicinal Marijuana vary depending on the CBD THC ratios in a patient’s dosage. Medical Cannabis research is advancing but is relatively new due to its prohibitive history, so all side effects are not yet known. Studies shows that Medical Cannabis may have the following side effects:
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Impaired memory and difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Disorientation, confusion, feeling “high”
- Suspiciousness, paranoia, hallucinations, nervousness
- Impaired motor skills and perception, frequent falls
- Dry mouth, throat irritation, coughing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fast heartbeat
Will it make me feel high?
Depending on your strain, Medical Cannabis may make you feel high.
Many of the licensed producers are producing strains of Medical Cannabis that are very weak in THC (the component that makes you feel impaired) and strong in CBD. These strains will not make you feel “high” or impaired.
Ask the Nurse Practitioner at your appointment about the available medical marijuana therapy options for your condition.
How do you use medical cannabis?
Medical Cannabis can be administered by inhalation as a vapor, consumed as an oil or a combination of both practices.
We do not recommend smoking Medical Cannabis due to the toxins released by the smoke. Vaporizing Cannabis is approximately 80% more effective than smoking, resulting in decreased medication use while still experiencing similar relief. Vaporizing is a healthier way to inhale medical marijuana and will make your medication last longer.
The way you use Medical Cannabis affects how long it lasts and how fast it works. Inhaling it through a vaporizer will have a quicker effect but will only last a few hours. Consuming it through oils or edibles will take longer to work but will last much longer. Speak to the Nurse Practitioner about your specific needs to determine how you should take your Medical Cannabis.
Can I travel with my medication?
You can only legally travel with your prescribed Medical Cannabis within Canada. You may carry up to 30 times your daily limit to a maximum of 150g.
Ensure that you keep your medication in the original container with the documentation from the Licensed Producer that clearly shows your prescription information.
If you are traveling by plane – check with the airline first and be sure to keep your medical cannabis in your carry-on luggage. Most airlines operating in Canada have a medical marijuana policy available online.
Can I go to work or drive after using Medical Cannabis?
Currently, the Highway Traffic Act states that you cannot operate a vehicle while impaired, including after taking medical cannabis.
If you are taking a medicinal cannabis strain that is high in THC, you will be impaired. Working while under the influence of your Medical Cannabis may not be possible.
If, however, you are taking a strain that is very low in THC and are not impaired, you may be able to function properly at work, possibly better. If you are employed in a safety sensitive position or your work requires driving or operating heavy machinery, workplace restrictions may prohibit medical cannabis therapy.
How long is the prescription valid for?
For new patients, practitioners should authorize a 3 – month medical cannabis prescription to confirm that your treatment regimen is appropriate. Medical Practitioners can authorize medical marijuana prescriptions for up to one year upon approval.
Am I a candidate for Medical Cannabis?
Medical Cannabis is used to treat a variety of conditions. Most people are appropriate candidates and can benefit from its use.
If you suffer from certain psychiatric conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, or Schizoaffective disorder, then Medical Cannabis is not recommended as it can make these conditions worse.
You must also be over the age of 18 to obtain a medical marijuana prescription. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get a prescription.
How will I purchase and receive my medication?
After consulting with the Nurse Practitioner, your prescription and authorization form is sent to the Licensed Producer. Depending on the Licensed Producer, processing your prescription can take as little as 24 hours while other treatment options may take up to 2 weeks. Once processed, you will be contacted by the Licensed Producer to arrange payment and specify delivery.
Patients can pay for medical cannabis over the phone or online using a credit card or pre-paid card. Payments are not permitted using any other means including debit, cash, or money order. Once payment has been processed, the Licensed Producer will advise the exact day the order will be shipped. Your medication is shipped in discreet packaging to your door by courier, where you must provide proof of identification and sign for the package.
Is Medical Cannabis covered by insurance?
Insurance coverage for medical marijuana depends entirely on your provider. Some major insurance companies acknowledge the proven benefits of medical cannabis therapies and include coverage in their plans. While some insurance providers do not include medical cannabis coverage yet, legalization encourages additional regulation, indicating that more providers will be adding medical cannabis under their coverage. There are also exceptions where patients have qualified for coverage through health spending accounts. We suggest that you contact your insurance company to see if the cost of your medical cannabis is covered under your plan. Currently Provincial Health Plans do not offer coverage for medical marijuana.
Despite pending coverage variances, it is important that patients remember to claim their tax deduction for medical marijuana in Canada.
If you are a veteran, Veteran’s Affairs is covering the costs of Medical Cannabis, including the cost of vaporizers. Feel free to ask us for help with the required forms.