Medical Marijuana Services (MMS) was established in 2013 to help Canadians access cannabis in a safe and effective manner. Since then we have consulted over 50,000 times across Canada. MMS are cannabis pioneers that shaped the industry. We are a free service that does not require exhaustive documentation or a referral from your physician. Our expert team of health care practitioners will treat you with compassion and provide a safe and effective treatment plan for you.
Canadians believe in the medicinal powers of medical marijuana. That’s why thousands of people are licensed by the federal government to possess and use medical cannabis anywhere in the country. Experts say it’s a safe alternative to treating various medical conditions without using pharmaceutical drugs.
In Canada, it’s legal to use and possess medical marijuana, as long as you have a license. New patients can obtain a license by applying through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
Obtaining a Medical Cannabis Card
Medical marijuana laws in Canada are regulated by the ACMPR program. This puts the decision to use cannabis for medicinal purposes solely in the hands of the patient and his/her physician. Most Canadian medical clinics require that a patient’s diagnosis be no older than five years old. And, it must come from a physician practicing medicine within the country.
To be eligible, the patient’s condition must be monitored by a specialist or family doctor within the last year. There are multiple walk-in clinics with doctors who qualify to approve you for the program.
All related medical documents must be accessible for eligibility. This includes documentation for the walk-in clinic, records department, hospital, health care practitioner and physician who treated you for your qualifying condition. The medical documentation must confirm your diagnosis.
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Who Decides If You are Eligible for Canada’s ACMPR Program?
An authorized health care practitioner must access your ACMPR program eligibility. So, your medical records must be within a specific time frame. This is based on the professional’s discretion, which is generally based on the medical condition. The medical professional will then verify all of the documentation you provided.
What is an authorized health care practitioner? That would be someone who’s either a nurse practitioner or a physician. The one you choose must meet the requirements below:
- Physician – Must be a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The membership must be in good standing. Must also hold a valid license issued by their local province/territory licensing authority. This must be the area where they practice medicine and hold a valid Class 1 narcotics license.
- Nurse Practitioner – Canada medical marijuana laws now allow these medical professionals to authorize and sign prescriptions under ACMPR by Health Canada. This, experts say, will greatly benefit their clients, while enhancing their medical practices.
Speaking with Your Doctor to Obtain a Medical Cannabis Card in Canada
To obtain a medical marijuana card, the quickest option is to consult a physician who already knows your medical history. Make sure the doctor knows about any other therapies and treatments you’re considering, including the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
What is Medical Cannabis?
Medical Cannabis is marijuana that is consumed for medical purposes, by a registered medical cannabis patient, who is prescribed medical cannabis card by an authorized HealthCare Practitioner.
Medical Cannabis can be the dried plant matter, flowers/buds of the cannabis plant, a cannabis oil, capsule or variety of other approved medical cannabis products, produced by a Health Canada approved Licensed Producer.
There are two main components in the cannabis plant, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which both belong to a class of compounds called cannabinoids. Other cannabinoids exist, but less is known about the effects of these compounds.
CBD has neuroprotective, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to relieve pain but does not make people feel “high”. Many people report great relief from strains of medical cannabis that are rich in CBD.
THC also has some pain-relieving effects and believed to cause the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Patients often report that strains containing levels of THC also help with sleep, depression, PTSD and pain.
How Does Medical Cannabis Work?
When heated, marijuana will release THC and CBD. It is believed that when these compounds enter the body, they act to prevent the nerve signals coming from the site of pain from being understood by the brain.
Will Medical Cannabis Make Me High?
You do not need to ‘get high’ to benefit from medical cannabis. Cannabis contains two main compounds – CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound that creates that ‘high’ or euphoria effect and CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning there is no ‘high’ obtained from it. Both compounds are medically beneficial and used often in combination with each other for best effect.
With that said, many patients choose to use strains that are very low in the compound THC, and rich in the compound CBD during the day, in order to manage their symptoms, without feeling ‘high’. Based on your needs, we will help you create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your concerns and treatment goals to ensure maximum benefit.
Questions to Have Answers to Before Seeing a Physician
Having answers to the following questions when you go to see a medical professional will increase your chances of obtaining a medical cannabis license:
- How does the condition and its symptoms negatively affect your life?
- What various conventional treatments have you already tried?
- In what ways did those conventional treatments fail to do the job?
- If granted an ACMPR license, how do you plan to use marijuana? (IE, smoking with papers, blunts or pipe, vaporizing, edibles, etc.…
- If you already use cannabis for medicinal purposes, explain how much you use, how often, how it’s used and the way it affects you
If your doctor is unable to or won’t help you obtain a medical cannabis prescription, you have other options. Simply choose another physician to visit. This time, make sure the medical professional is also a medical cannabis specialist.
Finding a “Green” Doctor in Canada
Multiple online networks assist with helping patients find medical cannabis-friendly physician’s in Canada. These networks are designed to help you gain access to the country’s medical marijuana program through Health Canada. Most offer a 3-step process to finding a physician and becoming a licensed patient:
- Pre-qualify for the program online
- Register for an evaluation online
- Consult with a physician or nurse practitioner about your condition
- Those who make it through the pre-qualification process may complete an online application to become a medical cannabis patient in Canada. You’ll then meet with a specialist, who will evaluate your condition to determine your eligibility into the program.
How do I Purchase my Medical Cannabis in Canada?
Once your medical marijuana prescription and registration forms are faxed to the licensed producer (done centrally by Apollo Applied Research Inc.), the licensed producer will contact you by phone within 2 days of receiving your prescription, allowing you to place your order for online medical cannabis card. If the licensed producer does not call you within 2 days you should notify Apollo Applied Research Inc. or your physician.
You will be required to pay for your medical cannabis using a credit card, or pre-paid card over the phone. The licensed producers are not permitted to accept payment by any other method (e.g. debit card, cash, cheque, money order).
Once the payment has been processed, the licensed producer will let you know the exact day the product will be shipped. The medication will be shipped to your door by courier. You must be home to sign for the package, if you are not home, the courier will leave a notice to inform you where you can pick up the package in-person.
What is The Price Range of Medical Marijuana?
The price of medical marijuana depends on the strain of cannabis and dosage you are prescribed. Online Medical cannabis offered by licensed producers range in price from $2.50/gram to $15.00/gram. You will be allowed to purchase up to 30 days’ worth of medical cannabis at one time.
Can I Get a Medical Cannabis Prescription Without a Doctor’s Referral?
If you’re unable to get your family doctor to fill out our referral form, please bring any medical records (i.e., MRI’s, consultation notes etc) to verify your condition. A list of current or previously tried medication is also acceptable (a print out from the pharmacy is preferred).
Do I Have to Purchase The Maximum Amount on my Prescription?
No. Online Medical cannabis patients can purchase up to the maximum amount prescribed, once every month, but are not required to purchase the full amount. For example, if a patient is prescribed 1 gram / day for 6 months, then they may purchase 20 grams the first month, and 30 grams the second and third month. Patients are however limited to only purchase strains at or below the prescribed THC percentage amount.
Is Medical Cannabis Covered by Insurance?
In most cases no. Unfortunately at this time most private insurance companies, and public health organizations aren’t covering the cost of medical cannabis, although there are a select few who do cover medical cannabis. Hopefully with more research coming out regarding the benefits of medical cannabis, more insurance companies will start to offer coverage.
Rules And Regulations For Purchasing Medical Cannabis
According to Health Canada, you are only allowed to place an order for and buy 30 days’ worth of cannabis at a given time. For example if your prescription is 1 gram per day, for 3 months, the most that you can buy at a time is 30 grams of cannabis. You must contact the licensed producer 30 days after you have purchased your first month’s supply to purchase the next month’s supply of medication. Please remember that you are only allowed to purchase more medication within a 30 day period if you are written a prescription for a greater dose during those 30 days.
You are legally allowed to carry with you the maximum amount of cannabis that you are permitted to buy for 30 days (in the example above this would be 30 grams).
There are many intricacies to purchasing medical cannabis, many of which are regulated by Health Canada. Apollo Applied Research Inc. will help to manage these intricacies for you. Should you have any questions about this process, you should contact your licensed producer or Apollo Applied Research Inc. directly.
General Licensing Rules
Please remember that your license for medical cannabis possession is on each bottle of cannabis that is shipped to you. If you leave your house with the medical cannabis, it should always be carried in the original bottle.
The license on the bottle has an expiration date, you are not legally allowed to carry medical cannabis after that date, unless you have seen a doctor and received a prescription past the date printed on the bottle.
You are not legally allowed to leave the country with medical cannabis, even if you are travelling to places where cannabis is legal.
You can travel/fly with medical cannabis within Canada, but please take all necessary precautions to prevent and issues by ensuring that you carry the cannabis in the original bottle you received it in which includes your license to possess medical cannabis.
Is it a Pill?
Medical cannabis patients have 3 main options for administering their medicine:
Dried Cannabis: which should be vaporized and inhaled
Edible Cannabis Oils: which are placed under the tongue then swallowed
Cannabis Oil Capsules: which are swallowed like a regular pill
Each method can affect the body differently and an Apollo patient educator will work with you to choose a method, or combination of methods best for you and your condition.
Apollo’s Recommended Mode of Administration: Vaporization
Health Canada and Apollo Applied Research Inc. recommend that medical cannabis be administered by vaporization. Research has shown that vaporization can be up to 80% more effective than smoking, which means that with vaporization you are able to use less medication for the same effect, then if you smoked it. Additionally, vaporization produces approximately 95% fewer carcinogens and is less likely to irritate the upper airway, versus smoking cannabis.
It is important to remember that smoking cannabis, just as smoking anything else, is carcinogenic. It is not healthy for you to consume anything by the process of smoking. The use of pipes, bongs or other methods that require burning the cannabis are just as unhealthy as smoking cannabis cigarettes.
What Should You Look For When Buying a Vaporizer?
Multiple Temperature Settings:
Regardless of which vaporizer you purchase, it should have multiple temperature settings. The medicinal properties in cannabis are activated through the process of heating, so you must have control over the temperature setting. The key is to heat cannabis as much as possible without burning. Your vaporizer should have temperature settings for 200°C or higher.
You may be administering medical cannabis multiple times throughout the day (on average 3 times a day) in order to achieve continuous pain relief. Therefore, at times when you are out in public and need to vaporize, it may be easier to medicate if the device is easy to carry, is light, and also discreet.
How Much Should I Vaporize?
Your physician will decide the total amount of medical cannabis you should use each day (for example, 1 gram per day). This total amount is a maximum, but we recommend using the full amount prescribed to you by your physician.
It is not typically recommended for a patient to consume the entirety of their prescription at one time. In order to achieve continuous pain relief it is recommended that you divide your daily dose into smaller separate doses, taken periodically during the day. For example, if you are prescribed a total daily dose of 1 gram per day, you may choose to use 0.3 grams in the morning, 0.3 grams in the afternoon and 0.4 grams in the evening.
Often patients report that slightly more medication consumed in the evening helps to reduce disruptions in their sleep. If there is a time during the day that your pain is far worse than other times, more medication can be used during those painful times. If you are prescribed a total daily dose of 1 gram per day, and your pain is the worse in the morning, you may choose to use 0.4 grams in the morning, 0.3 grams in the afternoon, and 0.3 grams in the evening.
Changes to the way you split your total daily dose of medication is completely up to you. We recommend that if you are changing your medication dosage, you should consult with an expert at Apollo Applied Research and/or your physician.
A major advantage of this medication is that you have control over when and how much to administer and you can make your dosing schedule match to fit your lifestyle. It is encouraged to determine a dosing schedule that works best for you to maximize your pain relief.
Where Can I Buy a Vaporizer?
You can purchase a Vaporizer directly from Apollo Applied Research Inc. Not only do we sell many Vaporizers, but our patient educators have the knowledge and expertise to assist you in recommending a Vaporizer tailored to your specific wants and needs. Vaporizers can also be purchased from stores that sell recreational cannabis-related products, such as ‘head shops’. Some of these stores will sell Vaporizers online and ship them to your house.
How to Obtain a License to Grow Medical Marijuana in Canada
ACMPR also allows licensed users to become registered medical marijuana growers within the country under Health Canada. This means they have the legal right to grow cannabis plants for the own personal medical use at their homes. There are limits to the amount of plants each individual may grow and produce.
Once licensed, these medical cannabis growers may also cultivate the plants commercially, and operate as businesses. ACMPR allows for various types of growing licensed to be issued, allowing cultivators to legally grow marijuana in Canada.
There are currently 39 licensed producers (LP’s) legally operating under Canada’s ACMPR program. Of them, 23 have the legal right to sell medical cannabis directly to authorized patients.