Medical Cannabis

Medical Cannabis (or Medical Marijuana) refers to the medicinal benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant – indigenous to central and south Asia.  Cannabis cultivation dates back at least 3000 years for fibre/ cloth, food, medicine, religious and recreational uses. Prohibitive restrictions on cannabis did not begin until the 14th century and then became highly prohibited throughout the 20th century on international scale.  For more information on the history of prohibition and Canada’s decision to legalize medical and recreational use please go to our blog. For more information on the history of prohibition and Canada’s decision to legalize medical and recreational use please go to our blog to read about the leader in medical marijuana legalization.

There are 3 commonly referred to types, or species of cannabis: Sativa, Indica and Hybrids.  While there is another species; Cannabis Ruderalis, it has little effect on the head or body making it ineffective for medicinal applications.

Sativa: Uplifting and Energizing

This strain of medical marijuana grows taller than other species as depicted by its thinner and lighter leaves.  Often patients find sativa varieties offer a spicy or floral aroma and their experience largely originates in the head.

Indica: Relaxing and Calming

Cannabis Indica are a shorter and bushier species that are characterized by thicker and darker leaves.  Patients find indica varieties carry a musk-like or earthy aroma and experience sedating physical properties in the body – making it a reliable sleep-aid.

Hybrid: Balances Sativa & Indica

Hybrid strains exhibit characteristics that balance the qualities of both sativa and indica varieties.  Created by cross breeding different strains to bring out the most desired traits, often targeting specific health benefits.  These hybrid varieties can be indica or sativa dominant or incredibly balanced.

Medscriptter’s preferred licensed producers carry a variety of strains to fill your medical marijuana prescription.

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Cannabinoids & Terpenes

The active medical ingredients of medicinal cannabis come from 2 classes of organic compounds: cannabinoids and terpenes.  145 cannabinoids and over 100 terpenes have been identified. Cannabinoids include THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, THCV, CBN but the two most common are THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).


– Psychoactive, can produce a high/ euphoria
– Can help with anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms, mood, nausea, neuropathic pain (due to damaged nervous system ie. Diabetic neuropathy), poor appetite
– Can in rare circumstances lead to psychosis


– Not psychoactive, does not cause a high or euphoria
– Works on chronic pain (fibromyalgia), epilepsy, muscle spasms, nausea
– Studies are underway gauging effectiveness as a bone stimulant, anti-ischemic (similar to low-dose aspirin therapy for coronary disease), anti-microbial, antipsychotic


Terpenoids (terpenes) are the aromatic oils that are primarily responsible for the aroma and taste of the cannabis strain. The 4 main terpene flavours are berry, citrus, mint and pine. However, research shows that terpenes also provide some of the health and medicinal benefits of medical cannabis. For example, patients observe that when they choose a strain with a high Linalool terpene component, it enhances their mood and assists with sedation. The terpene linalool is also found in Lavender – another plant species that boasts relaxing qualities. While more research is required in this area it appears that terpenes are responsible for more than just flavour.

Our preferred licensed producers have a variety of different medical cannabis strains with differing terpene balances. Book a consultation with our medical practitioner to get registered with one of our LPs.

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The Endocannabinoid System

Medical Cannabis has widespread benefits in the human body because the endocannabinoid system is found in virtually every organ of the body. In other words, humans are naturally set up to react to cannabinoids. The cannabinoids that are naturally occurring in the body are termed endocannabinoids while the cannabinoids produced from the cannabis plant are termed phytocannabinoids (phyto – Latin ”from plant”) These phytocannabinoids simple activate the same receptors in our bodies.

An interesting fact about medical marijuana however is that it does NOT affect the brain stem. Why is this important? One of the health benefits of medicinal marijuana is that it can assist opioid dependent patients when they experience withdrawal symptoms without sacrificing their recovery. Opioids interact with the brain stem in drastically negative ways while cannabis does not.

Last year there were over 25,000 deaths due to opioid overdose in the United States while there are no known deaths due to overdosing on marijuana. Scientists have actually declared that overdosing on marijuana is so unlikely that the safety window that cannabis has (1000:1) means that theoretically a patient would have to consume nearly 1500 pounds of marijuana within 15 minutes to induce a lethal response. In addition to the dependency rate of Cannabis is 9% which is slightly lower than Caffeine while Tobacco holds the highest rate at 32%.

The Entourage effect

Although scientists and doctors are still conducting research, it is understood that there exists a synergy of various compounds in marijuana that all contribute to the effectiveness of the medicinal qualities – Termed The Entourage Effect.  While many of these compounds have specific healing attributes, it appears that when combined, the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its single-molecule parts.

Medical cannabis has been used as part of a treatment plan for the following conditions:

Addictions/ Withdrawal
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s)
Asthma/ COPD
Bone Health
Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Chronic pain
Crohn’s Depression

Hepatitis C
Huntington’s Disease
Interstitial Cystitis
Irritable bowel Syndrome
Menstrual Cramps
Migraine & Cluster Headaches

Muscular Dystrophies
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Muscle Spasms
Palliative (terminal) Care
Parkinson’s Disease
Post Concussion
Spinal Cord Injuries
Sleep Disorders


Experimental and clinical Psychopharmacology 1994. Vol 2, No. 3, 244-268 Comparative Epidemiology of Dependence on Tobacco, Alcohol, Controlled Substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey.

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