Yes, medical cannabis is legal in Canada. While it is not officially recognized as a drug or medicine by Health Canada, it is legal to access it under controlled conditions for medical purposes. This means that you have to satisfy the basic qualifying conditions, have a medical professional authorize your use of medical cannabis with a medical document and order it from a licensed producer.ion
The cost for medical cannabis can vary depending on the licensed producer through which it is purchased. Depending on the strain, it can cost anywhere between $2.50 and $15 per gram.
Medical cannabis qualifies as a medical expense under CRA guidelines. So while most insurances don’t cover medical cannabis in a basic benefits plan, you might be able to claim it under your healthcare spending account for your taxes.
Generally, you need to be at least 25 years of age and have an officially diagnosed qualifying medical condition for which you have already undergone treatment. For a list of medical conditions please click here. If you do not have a treating physician or you aren’t comfortable discussing this subject with your doctor, you can do the “fast-track” route where you will undergo a private assessment through WebClinic.ca. People under age 25 may be assessed for medical cannabis treatment if they suffer from a severe chronic illness and conventional treatment provides insufficient relief. Medical cannabis will not be prescribed if you are pregnant or attempting pregnancy. Diagnoses of schizophrenia or psychosis may limit medical marijuana treatment options.
You do need a referral in order to be scheduled with a physician for a consult. If your doctor would like to refer you to us, the referral form can be found here and faxed to 1-403-475-1129.
If you are referred by your physician, there are no costs for seeing a doctor for consult at one of our Canheal Clinic locations. Any of the associated costs are covered by Provincial Health Care. Please contact us if you would like a referral to a physician that can provide a referral to Canheal. If you are in possession of your medical records and have an official diagnosis and treatment history you can also choose to go the “fast-track” route. There are costs associated with the private assessment that you will undergo.
The doctor you are assigned is based on your location and medical condition, and doctor availability. The doctor’s address will be provided for the appropriate clinic at the time of booking. We have clinics in Calgary and Edmonton. If you cannot travel to a clinic (either because of medical condition or distance), you can choose a video conference appointment. Just let us know when we are booking your appointment.
If you already know that you would like to see the doctor via video conference appointments, you can let us know when we are booking your appointment.
There are possible side effects of cannabis but they vary depending on many factors. For example, the strain that you use affects how you react. If you are using a strain with a high THC content, you might experience dry mouth, increased appetite (which can be beneficial for those suffering from weight loss due to illness) and hallucinations. Low THC (high CBD) strains don’t have as many side effects and are generally not associated with the feeling of being high or hallucinations. The strain you end up choosing is highly linked to your medical condition(s) and personal reaction to different concentrations of THC and CBD that you feel are beneficial for you. Another suspected side effect in teenagers is the triggering of psychosis or schizophrenia. Health Canada does not recommend the use of medical cannabis in patients under the age of 25. Side effects are covered extensively in our education program. Your Canheal counselor or physician can answer any specific questions you have.
Health Canada recommends vaporizing or ingesting (for example as a tea) your dried medical cannabis rather than smoking it. Vaporizing medical cannabis is much gentler and heats the dried cannabis just enough to emit the active ingredients but stays at a low enough temperature to not release all the toxic by-products that are inhaled during smoking. You can also use dried medical cannabis to make butter to prepare your own consumables and recently licensed producers were approved to sell consumables. Licensed producers also sell cannabis oils. What form of consumption is best for you and your needs can also be discussed with your Canheal counselor.
Medical cannabis has many active ingredients but the two main and most important cannabinoids are THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The components and active ingredients in medical cannabis are covered in your Canheal education.
For a new user of medical cannabis, it is recommended to start low and slow at around 0.5 to 2 grams per day. How much medical cannabis is prescribed can be discussed beforehand with our customer care specialists but is ultimately at the discretion of your doctor. Once your body becomes more accustomed to the medical cannabis, the doctor may gradually increase the dosage during your follow-up. Canheal counselors and doctors will work with you to ensure the medical cannabis will not counteract other medicines you may be taking, and that side effects are managed as other medications may be lessened or removed from your health plan.
You order your medical cannabis online from the licensed producer of your choice. Once you have chosen and registered with a licensed producer, we will send your medical document (prescription) to the licensed producer. After the licensed producer has received and verified your prescription, you can order the medical cannabis online and it will be mailed to your physical home address.
A licensed producer is a grower of medical cannabis who has been issued an official license by Health Canada. Only producers are authorized to produce and sell to the public may sell or provide medical cannabis to eligible persons under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).
Getting your medical cannabis from a licensed producer is the only legal way to purchase medical cannabis in Canada. Licensed producers receive their license from Health Canada and have to adhere to very strict guidelines and restrictions, which are aimed at controlling the quality of the product and protecting the safety of the patient. The plants that are grown in this environment provide a more consistent and predictable result for the patient and can be better controlled for content of CBD and THC.
In order to register with a licensed producer, you (or a legal representative) need to submit a completed registration form. Depending on the licensed producer this can be done either via fax or online on the licensed producer’s website. Before you can start ordering your medical cannabis, the licensed producers also require the original medical document. The medical document will be sent directly to the licensed producer through Canheal so that you don’t have to worry about it.
The licensed producers will call or e-mail our office in order to verify the contact information and dosage on the medical document. This is a procedure required by law and can take up to several days depending on the licensed producer. If there are any errors in the medical document, the doctor will fill out a new medical document that is then sent to the licensed producer.
Licensed producers offer a variety of discounts and promotions. You can check out their websites or even sign up for their newsletters which will keep you updated about seasonal and current discounts and promotions.
Some licensed producers offer compassionate programs for applicants earning less than $30,000 per year (based on proof of your last T4). Mention this to us when we contact you to book your first appointment so we can direct you accordingly.
Our educators are able to guide you in terms of strain selection. Ultimately it is up to you to pick a strain that works best for you and your specific medical condition. Some licensed producers offer sample packs for new users or discounts for trying new strains. We are knowledgeable about the licensed producers and can help you choose the producer that is right for you. If you would like to be registered and order medical cannabis from more than one licensed producer, mention it to us when we are contacting you to book your doctor’s appointment.
Shipping times can vary between licensed producers. Generally, it takes about 48 hours from placing your order online to be shipped to your door. You can only start ordering your medical cannabis once you have registered, and the medical document has been sent to and been verified by the licensed producer. Verification processes differ between licensed producers and can take up to several business days.
The biggest and most avoidable problem is when the information on your medical document does not match the information on your licensed producer registration. To avoid this, make sure that you register with the same information with Canheal and with the licensed producer and that all of the following are correct and complete: Name, date of birth, address, phone number, gender, and health care number.
The medical cannabis is shipped via Canada Post Express Post or Purolator directly to your home address. Alternatively, the medical cannabis can be shipped to your doctor, legal guardian or to the appropriate Canheal Clinic.
In order to keep using medical cannabis on a long-term basis, you will need to have recurrent appointments with your doctor. A follow-up appointment is necessary every three months (according to section 4.b. of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta standard of practice) in order to review your current prescription and adjust the dosage if necessary or deemed beneficial. There is no charge to see the doctor at the clinic. You also have the option to see the doctor via video-conference at a nominal charge.
Follow-up appointments need to be scheduled every 3 months which is also around the time when the medical document expires. The new medical document will be completed by the prescribing physician after your visit. Canheal will contact you to schedule your follow-up appointment time.
The Medical document is very similar to a traditional prescription for pharmaceuticals. “Medical document” is the official term used by Health Canada. It contains all the information about your doctor including his address, number and license ID. The document will also contain your contact information (health care number, address, name, DOB, gender and phone number), the prescribed dosage of Medical Cannabis in grams per day, and duration of usage in months. Typically the duration is about 3 months so that you are able to order medical cannabis until your next doctor’s appointment. Health Canada determines how the medical document must be transmitted to the licensed producer for authenticity. Canheal makes sure that your medical document is sent and verified through the appropriate channels. Additionally, the medical document needs to be sent to the provincial College of Surgeons and Physicians, which is done through our office.
You can ask us for a copy of your medical document. However, the medical document is not proof that you are legally allowed to use and carry medical cannabis and the copy that you receive will be clearly labeled as a copy. The original will be sent to the licensed producer(s) of your choice. If you wish to be registered with two producers at a time, please inform us before your doctor’s appointment. In that case, the doctor will complete two medical documents and each one will be sent to a licensed producer of your choice. If you would like to switch from one licensed producer to another, you are required to have another doctor’s appointment so that a new medical document can be filled out and be submitted to the new licensed producer. You also have the option of cancelling your medical document with your current licensed producer and then transferring it to your new licensed producer. We do not recommend this option as it can take several weeks and will leave you without a legal source for medical cannabis in the meantime.
Within Canada, you must carry medical cannabis in the container it was shipped in, or in a sealable bag. If you are not using the original shipping container, be sure to have your card with you. The legal authorization to use and carry medical cannabis extends anywhere in Canada. Authorization does not extend internationally. Ensure you are within possession limits and that you carry your legal proof provided by the licensed producer with your first order.
The legal documentation that proves you are allowed to use and carry medical cannabis is provided by your licensed producer. Either a card or a piece of paper is sent to you with your first order. The prescription label on your medical cannabis container is also admissible proof that you are legally allowed to use and possess medical cannabis. The police have the right to contact the licensed producer to verify the validity of the document.
The legal documentation that proves that you are allowed to use and carry medical cannabis is provided by your licensed producer. The form is sent to you with your first order and is either in the form of a card or a piece of paper. The prescription label on your medical cannabis container is also admissible proof that you are legally allowed to use and posses medical cannabis.