Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Canada?

February 12, 2021

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Canada?

Discover more about the legality of medical cannabis in Canada and who is eligible in this informative and easy-to-understand guide.

Cannabis isn’t anything new. In fact, charred cannabis seeds have been found inside burial grounds in Siberia dating back to 3000 B.C.

Though cannabis has been used throughout history, it hit a point where it was deemed unsafe, unhealthy, and illegal to possess and consume.

Today, that’s all changing.

Medical cannabis is becoming more popular, even replacing medication completely in some cases. Some studies show that cannabis can help many health issues without giving the user negative side-effects.

What exactly are the parameters surrounding the legality of medical marijuana use in Canada, though? If you’re curious about this, then this post is for you.

What Is Medical Cannabis?

Marijuana is a mix of dried leaves and stems from the marijuana plant that contains chemicals that affect your brain.

Medical cannabis is the use of cannabis to treat certain health-related conditions and diseases.

Medical Cannabis is controversial but is slowly becoming more accepted in today’s world.

How Does Medical Cannabis Work?

The marijuana plant is packed with over 100 chemicals that are referred to as cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid affects the body differently. For medicinal purposes, we’ll pay attention to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, referred to as THC, and cannabidiol, referred to as CBD.

The fact that THC and CBD are cannabinoids is what makes them so effective. We have an endocannabinoid system in our body, which will react positively whenever a cannabinoid is present. When THC and CBD are introduced into our bodies, they immediately start working with our bodies to give us a positive effect.

When THC enters the body, it attaches receptors in the brain and stimulates them, affecting the body in multiple ways, such as reducing inflammation and increasing the appetite.

CBD, on the other hand, is psychoactive but doesn’t produce the high that THC does. It's referred to as non-impairing. CBD can also be turned into an oil and used as a healing salve to treat physical pain in the joints and muscles.

The chemicals THC and CBD treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, and so much more.

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Canada?

In 2000 Canada legalized the use of medical marijuana. This gave individuals a certain condition or disease the right to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes.

This led to the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations, otherwise known as the MMAR, passed in 2001. The MMAR gave patients the allowance to either grow their own medicinal marijuana at home or have a caregiver grow it for them or purchase it from Health Canada.

Court decisions over time called for several changes to the MMAR, and in June 2013, it was replaced by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations or MMPR. The MMPR implemented a network of licensed producers responsible for producing and distributing marijuana for medical purposes. This gave access to quality-controlled dried marijuana produced in sanitary conditions to users.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that restricting access to legal marijuana to only dried forms was unconstitutional. The decision determined that those with medical needs would have the right to make their own forms of cannabis products. By July, licensed producers were allowed to produce dried marijuana, fresh marijuana buds, and cannabis oil.

The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, or the ACMPR, was a response to the Federal Court of Canada’s February 2016 decision that requiring individuals to obtain their marijuana from licensed producers only was a violation of liberty and security rights.

The ACMPR allowed patients to get their medical marijuana from Health Canada’s licensed producers. It also gave them the option to grow limited amounts of cannabis themselves.

While medical marijuana is legal, there are some parameters surrounding the legalities.

For example, patients with a medical marijuana certificate can only possess up to a 30-day supply.

Additionally, only certain people qualify for the use of medical marijuana. Those who don’t have a medical condition listed under the law may not have access to medical marijuana. If they do have one of those medical conditions, there’s a chance they’ll have to travel to find a marijuana-friendly doctor.

How Do I Purchase My Medical Cannabis in Canada?

There’s a process you have to go through to purchase medical marijuana in Canada.

Across the country, you can find about 50 licensed medical marijuana producers. You’ll first have to register with one of these producers. Once you’re registered, the licensed producer will contact you and allow you to place your order for your cannabis card.

You can purchase your cannabis in a number of different forms, including dried, fresh, oil, edible, topical form, and even more. Or if you’ve signed up to grow your own plants, you can purchase seeds from a producer as well.

Your purchase must be made using a credit card or a pre-paid card over the phone as licensed producers are not legally permitted to accept debit, cash, cheque, or money orders.

Once your payment has been processed, your cannabis will be shipped to your home. You must be home to sign for the package.

You can also purchase your cannabis online, where you can browse a wide range of cannabis products.

What Is the Price Range of Medical Marijuana?

The price of medical marijuana can vary depending on what area of Canada you’re in. As many as four in ten Canadians have said that the cost of marijuana will determine whether or not they purchase their marijuana legally.

Other things that can affect the cost of your marijuana is the strain, dosage, and the cultivator you choose to purchase your marijuana from.

The typical cost of medical marijuana can range anywhere from $3.25 per gram to $17 per gram. Most often, patients are authorized to consume between one to five grams per day.

Can I Get a Medical Cannabis Prescription Without a Doctor’s Referral?

You don’t necessarily need your doctor’s referral to qualify for a medical cannabis prescription in Canada.

If you are going the doctor route, you want to ensure you’re as prepared as possible. Think of all the reasons medical marijuana would benefit you. For example, you can find studies on how cannabis eased certain symptoms in patients.

On top of that, gather some information on your own personal health, as this will further show how you personally can benefit from medicinal marijuana.

Write down any medications you take or procedures you’ve gone for in the past. This can help connect the dots between your symptoms and the benefits of medical marijuana.

If you can’t get the doctor’s referral, you can go online and get your medical marijuana document at CannMart.

Here, you’ll fill out an online application and then have an online video consultation with a nurse. After your consultation the nurse will decide if you approve or not. If you do, you’ll receive your prescription card. It’s that easy!

Once you have your medical marijuana document you will be able to purchase right through their online site, choosing from a wide selection of high quality and safe products.

Plus, on this site you can even get personalized recommendations of what they think would work best for you and whatever symptoms you’re trying to ease.

Is Medical Cannabis Covered by Insurance?

Your medical cannabis can be covered by insurance. However, many plans limit coverage to only a particular list of medical conditions. If the reason you’re using medical marijuana does not fall into this category, you won’t be covered by insurance.

However, if your insurance plan includes a Healthcare Spending Account, you’ll likely be able to claim medical cannabis under this category, as the Canada Revenue Agency lists medical cannabis as an eligible medical expense.

Many licensed producers also offer compassionate pricing to seniors and low-income individuals. Users that fall within this category should work with a patient educator to determine whether they qualify.

Here is a list of insurance companies that currently offer medical cannabis coverage inclusion:

  • Sunlife Financial
  • Co-Operators Life Insurance
  • Desjardins Insurance
  • Green Shield Canada
  • Great West Life
  • Manulife
  • Alberta Blue Cross
  • Medavie Blue Cross
  • SSQ Insurance
  • The Great-West Life Company

Start Your Journey Today!

Medical cannabis is your safe and legal answer to managing health issues and effectively improving your quality of life.

Book your free fifteen-minute medical cannabis consultation today and begin your journey through life in a happier and healthier way.

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