Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy: Does Cannabis Help Manage Epileptic Seizures?

happy woman on beach

While the Government of Canada legalized recreational cannabis use in October 2018, medical marijuana was made legal in Canada in 2001 thanks to a Supreme Court case brought by patient Terry Parker. At the time, health Canada regulated access to cannabis for licensed patients who were allowed to grow their own cannabis or get it from licensed producers.

A lot has changed since then. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada said it was unconstitutional to restrict medical marijuana users to smoking dried marijuana. This has since opened the door for licensed producers to make cannabis oils, gummies, chocolates, and other types of extracts.

The growing acceptance of medical marijuana and recent legalization of recreational cannabis has led to it being used to help treat a wide variety of health conditions—everything from pain, nausea, and lack of appetite to epilepsy.

While there is a growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence to suggest that medical cannabis can be used to treat some forms of epileptic seizures, the research is ongoing. And it’s important that you talk to a medical professional with a background in medical cannabis before adding it to your medication regime.

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that results in recurring seizures that vary in intensity and duration, from short and undetectable to long and violent. The cause of epileptic seizures is not fully understood, but they are generally caused by disturbances in specific parts of the brain that increase brain activity and result in recurring seizures.

In addition to seizures, symptoms of epilepsy include temporary confusion, a staring spell, uncontrollable movements of the arms and legs, and even psychotic symptoms including fear, anxiety, déjà vu, and seeing auras.

You can be diagnosed with having epilepsy if you have:

  • At least two unprovoked seizures.
  • One unprovoked seizure and are very likely to have another.
  • Are diagnosed with an epilepsy syndrome.

It is thought that around 260,000 Canadians have epilepsy. And that number is growing every day.

  • Roughly 60% of new patients are senior citizens or young children.
  • 14.6% are 0-17 years old
  • 44% are diagnosed before the age of 5.
  • 55% before the age of 10.
  • 75% to 85% before age 18.
  • 72.8% are 18-64 years old.
  • 12.6% are over the age of 65.

What Causes Epilepsy?

Due to the different underlying causes, which can be hard to identify and even detect, there are different types of epilepsy. A person might have an epileptic seizure if they have one or more of the following.

  • A genetic tendency, inherited from one or both parents.
  • A genetic predisposition that is not inherited but can change a person’s genetic makeup.
  • A structural change in the brain, which could be a result of brain development, or damaged by a brain injury, or infection like meningitis, a stroke, or tumour.
  • Genetic conditions like neurofibromatosis (causes growth in the brain) and tuberous sclerosis (genetic condition that can cause growth on the nerves).

Does Medical Cannabis Manage Epileptic Seizures?

Many Canadians that suffer from epilepsy say medical marijuana helps stop their seizures. Because research has been limited by the previous laws and regulations, there are not a huge number of scientific studies that back this up. But early evidence from laboratory studies and small clinical studies over the years suggest that medical marijuana can potentially help control seizures.

The findings show that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a well-known active ingredient in cannabis, can have medicinal effects. Like THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is also emerging as one of marijuana’s leading medicinal compounds.

Both CBD and THC are in a group of compounds called cannabinoids. They bind to receptors in the body, including the brain, and have been shown to have the potential to treat pain associated with conditions like multiple sclerosis. They also work with other signaling systems within the brain, but how it works in managing epileptic seizures is not fully understood. At least not yet.

That doesn’t mean that scientists aren’t making headway. In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is similar to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada, approved CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.

Side Effects when Treating Epilepsy with Medical Marijuana

Because the number of verified scientific studies that look at how cannabis can manage epilepsy are relatively small, so too is the data on potential side effects. Some of the most common side effects include sleepiness, fatigue, a decrease in appetite, and diarrhea.

We also don’t know yet how CBD might interact with other seizure medications.

Side effects can also vary depending on how medical cannabis is used—whether it’s smoked, eaten, or in a beverage.

MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

If you suffer from epilepsy and your seizures are not responding to traditional therapies, the medical cannabis consulting experts at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) can provide you with information about medical marijuana and explain different options that are available to you.

A trusted name in medical cannabis consulting, MMC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on medical marijuana. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), and refer you to a licensed producer.

With MMC’s personalized white glove treatment, you also get access to personalized one-on-one educational sessions, treatment plans, and ongoing support. Our cannabis clinic also helps with insurance benefits and tax claims.

If you want to grow your own medical cannabis at home, our medical marijuana consulting team can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

Pain Relief for Seniors: Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana vs. Opioids and Alcohol

pain relief for seniors marijuana vs opioids and alcohol

With more people turning to medical marijuana for pain relief, cannabis is becoming a suitable treatment for chronic pain compared to treatments or medications that are potentially more addictive or damaging to your health. Medical marijuana for seniors has also grown in popularity, with many seeing the stigma reduced  and the availability of prescription medical marijuana increase. This has opened the door for a whole new range of treatments for chronic pain.

In this article, we explore the benefits of using medical marijuana for pain relief compared to opioids and alcohol.

The Opioid Epidemic and Its Impact on Seniors in Canada

Did you know that an estimated one in four Canadians over the age of 15 live with some form of chronic pain? To help treat the pain, many Canadians are often prescribed opioids, such as codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, and diacetylmorphine. Unfortunately, opioids are being overprescribed in Canada as a treatment for pain, which has resulted in a global health crisis.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction, 9.6% of Canadian adults who have used opioid medications reported some form of problematic use. Opioids can be problematic for a number of reasons, primarily because they elicit a feeling of euphoria and well-being, and they are highly addictive.  

It can be easy to underestimate how addictive opioids are. Recent reports has shown that many seniors are struggling with opioid addiction. What’s more, millions of seniors now find themselves with prescriptions for multiple opioids at once and are unaware of or have limited access to alternative treatments for pain.

That’s why the cannabis vs. opioids debate has become more relevant now than ever, with many people of all ages beginning to consider the benefits of medical marijuana for pain relief.

The Benefits of Replacing Opioids and Alcohol with Cannabis

Not only is medical marijuana for pain relief an effective alternative to opioids and other more potentially dangerous drugs but substituting opioids and alcohol with cannabis can make your treatment simpler. In fact, medical marijuana can take the place of several medications in some instances, reducing the costs and complications of juggling multiple medications.

Many seniors suffer from a variety of painful conditions, often all at once, including arthritis. Recently, the Arthritis Foundation conducted a survey of 2,600 people with arthritis and found that 29% of the participants were using cannabidiol (a marijuana molecule, also known as CBD) to treat their symptoms. Medical marijuana, especially CBD, has shown in studies to be effective at managing pain from a variety of sources, as well as reduce reliance on painkillers.

Another study showed that medical marijuana for pain relief has actually helped to reduce the risk of exposure to fentanyl—a synthetic opioid that is highly addictive—and can potentially help to curb overdoses and other complications from prolonged opioid use.

Aside from opioid use, many seniors suffering from chronic pain have turned to alcohol to help mitigate their pain—a potentially fatal habit, especially when alcohol is combined with opioids. Research has shown that cannabis can help to curb the use of alcohol in pain relief. Marijuana is a less addictive and potentially healthier alternative.

Lowering Pain from Cancer and Other Health Issues

Some of the first approved medical marijuana prescriptions were given to people with cancer for pain management.

CBD has shown in studies to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and can help mitigate pain from chemotherapy and cancer symptoms. Researchers have also begun looking into CBD’s effect on chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.

More studies on CBD and medical marijuana have broadly shown significant promise when it comes to treating chronic pain. In addition, medical marijuana has shown in studies to have a positive effect on spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

Risks of Incorrect Use of Cannabis for Seniors

While there are many potential benefits of medical marijuana, seniors should still exercise caution when using cannabis as an effective pain reliever.

Below, we’ll briefly dive into two potential issues that seniors ought to be aware of when taking cannabis medication.

Cardiac Health

Some patients who have consumed too much cannabis in the past have had elevated heart rates and other issues related to cardiac health. These are typically rare and are unlikely to occur when cannabis medication is used as directed by a doctor.

Conflicts with Other Medications

Patients need to be aware of how medical marijuana can interact with other medications. Before taking any of the following medications alongside medical marijuana, consult your doctor:

  • Pain medications
  • Heart medications and blood thinners
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Antibiotic and antifungal medications
  • Allergy, cold, and flu medications
  • Heartburn medications
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Drugs to treat HIV/AIDS
  • ADHD medications

Despite what many believe, medical marijuana doesn’t have to be smoked; it can be taken in a variety of forms, including inhalation, ingestion, and as a topical application.

A medical cannabis clinic will be able to direct you towards the most effective medical marijuana treatment for pain.

Medical Marijuana Consulting for Seniors

If you’re looking for a medical cannabis clinic that can help you treat your pain through medical marijuana, contact the experts at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC).

Trust our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners to provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), and refer you to a licensed producer.

MMC’s personalized white glove treatment supplies one-on-one educational sessions, treatment plans, and ongoing support. If you aren’t technically savvy, our team can help you register with your preferred Licensed Producer and even help you place your order to make the process as seamless as possible. Our medical cannabis clinic can also help with insurance benefits and tax claims and help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada if you are interested in growing your own medical cannabis at home.

MMC is dedicated to connecting patients with medical treatments that work for them. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your tailored medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

COVID-19 and Mental Health: Can Medical Cannabis Help Manage Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD?

covid-19 mental health medical cannabis

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of daily life for Canadians in unimaginable ways. Thousands of businesses closed their doors or cut back on hours with millions of Canadians losing their jobs. On top of that, because of lockdown rules, millions of quarantined Canadians were left isolated on their own.

All of this has had a significant impact on the mental health of Canadians.

What many people may not realize, however, is that there is a direct connection between physical health and mental health. And that long hours of quarantine can weaken our psyche and sap our energy. Fortunately, there is some exciting evidence that suggests medical cannabis might play a significant role in treating symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and Mental Health: Vulnerable Populations in Canada

The pandemic hasn’t affected everyone the same way. Some people are more susceptible to mental health issues than others.

One study found that some people were more likely than others to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as people who had lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, those who are anxious about their personal finances, people with children at home, women, and young people.

People with a disability, people who are indigenous, visible minorities, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ also struggled with mental health issues related to COVID-19.

For the most part, Canadians used various ways to cope during the first wave of COVID-19. Some were healthier than others. The majority (56%) connected virtually with family and friends, 43% tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while 19% said they were drinking more alcohol to cope.

COVID-19 Stress: How Is It Different from Regular Stress?

While Canadians have gone through different crisis before, the type of mental health issues, including stress, caused by a never-before-seen pandemic has upended our lives in entirely unique ways.

  • Increased financial stress due to employment insecurity or job loss.
  • Anxiety related to trying to balance work and home life.
  • Worry over the safety of friends, and relatives.
  • Stress from constant barrage of exposure to the news and social media.
  • Emotional distress caused by ongoing isolation.
  • Fear about getting the virus.

As noted previously, there is a link between your physical and mental well-being. COVID-19 stress can disrupt your gastrointestinal system, fuel feelings of grief, lead to restless sleep, and lead to either weight loss or weight gains.

Left unaddressed, COVID-19 stress and anxiety can also lead to depression and promote unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, or unhealthy eating. It can also exacerbate chronic conditions.

All of this weakens your immune system. The exact thing you want to avoid during a pandemic.

CBD Oil and COVID-19 Mental Health Issues

One popular method that Canadians are using to deal with COVID-19 mental health issues is the use of cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana. In fact, an increasing number of Canadians are turning to CBD and medical marijuana for anxiety, depression, and PTSD to help alleviate mental health issues related to the pandemic.

One study found that 60% of cannabis users believe that it can help reduce their anxiety. In fact, 40% of participants surveyed admitted to using cannabis specifically for anxiety and 33% said they use cannabis products for their calming and anti-anxiety effects.

Rising CBD and marijuana sales also seem to suggest that some Canadians are finding relief through better sleep and a clearer, calmer head. According to a study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 52% of existing cannabis users reported an increase in their consumption during the first wave of the pandemic.

CBD and medical marijuana are not just for those with mental health issues, either. An increasing number of healthcare professionals have been using CBD during COVID-19.

According to Dr. June Chin, author of Cannabis and CBD for Health and Wellness, “Healthcare workers [who] are working long shifts are finding CBD helpful for restorative sleep and, on their days off, [are] using it for pain and inflammation—from being on their feet all day, [and having] low back pain and neck pain.”

MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

COVID-19 has resulted in a record high number of both diagnosed and self-reported feeling of depression and anxiety. The pandemic has also negatively impacted different people in different ways, with some Canadians more susceptible than others to mental health issues.

If you’re struggling through the coronavirus pandemic and would like to know if medical cannabis is right for you, contact the medical marijuana experts at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC).

A trusted name in medical cannabis consulting industry, MMC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on medical marijuana. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), and refer you to a licensed producer.

With MMC’s personalized white glove treatment, you also get access to personalized one-on-one educational sessions, treatment plans, and ongoing support. Our cannabis clinic can also help with insurance benefits and tax claims and help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada if you are interested in growing your own medical cannabis at home.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

Medical Marijuana for PTSD: How Cannabis May Help Veterans and Other Canadians

medical marijuana for ptsd

It’s likely that you have experienced or know someone who has experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); as many as one in ten Canadians has the condition including many veterans. PTSD can be a taxing and difficult disorder to face alone.

But there is hope. Recent studies have shown potential benefits of using medical marijuana to treat PTSD (one study showed that medical cannabis can have a positive biological effect that lessens symptoms).

Read on to find out how medical cannabis for PTSD could potentially help you or your loved one.

What Is PTSD?

Before we delve into the potential benefits of using medical marijuana to treat symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to fully understand what it is. PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people following a shocking, terrifying, or dangerous event, that leaves a lasting impression.

While it is natural to feel afraid during and immediately after a traumatic event, those who suffer PTSD are unable to recover naturally from their “fight-or-flight” response triggered by the trauma. Trauma such as serious accidents, physical or sexual assault, childhood abuse, or war/conflict can all lead to PTSD.

It’s important to note, however, that not everyone living with PTSD has experienced a dangerous event; sudden shocks like an unexpected death of a loved one can also cause the condition.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms often begin to show within three months of the traumatic incident. It’s also worth noting that symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough that they’re impeding relationships or work to be considered PTSD. 

Typically, a doctor will diagnose PTSD in an adult who displays the following for one month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

These symptoms can express as:

  • Flashbacks where the person relieves the trauma, typically suffering from physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Avoiding places, events, and objects that remind the person of the traumatic experience
  • Being easily startled or feeling “on edge”
  • Distorted feelings of guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities

And that’s just a few of the many symptoms that a PTSD patient may experience.

The Role of Cannabis in Treating PTSD

While evidence isn’t conclusive, many separate studies have found positive effects of medical cannabis for PTSD.

In some studies, symptoms were reduced by as much as half, at least for the short term. Other research showed PTSD patients were two-and-a-half times more likely to recover.

So, why is cannabis a potentially effective treatment for PTSD? There’s some evidence that suggests that cannabis reduces the activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that’s associated with fear responses to threats. There is also evidence that suggests that the cannabinoids (a molecule found in cannabis) could play a role in excising traumatic memories.

While conclusive testing is still underway, the simple fact is that there’s a growing body of research that points to marijuana being a potentially good treatment option for people living with PTSD.

How Cannabis May Help Veterans and Other Canadians

Did you know that there is a higher prevalence of PTSD in veterans? This is understandable; war is about as traumatic an event any human being can experience. Some studies indicate that roughly 20% to 30% of veterans may have PTSD.

Studies have also shown that suicidal thoughts and actions can result from prolonged or severe PTSD. While there’s a consistent prevalence of suicidal ideation across PTSD groups, the issue is particularly acute among veterans, making medical marijuana for veterans a potential life-saving treatment option.

The federal government has taken notice of this potential, as well. Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) is one of the few government health programs that reimburses patients for medical marijuana treatment. This makes medical marijuana for veterans a more readily accessible treatment option that may be worth exploring for you or a loved one.

Other Treatments for PTSD

Aside from medical marijuana, treatment of PTSD typically starts with psychotherapy, although a variety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are approved for use in some countries.

There are issues with other medications, however. They typically have more profound side effects on the patient relative to medical marijuana, making cannabis a potentially less harmful treatment option compared to the alternatives.

Medical Marijuana Consulting in Canada

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to getting the appropriate treatment for your PTSD. If you’re considering medical marijuana for PTSD (or another ailment), we at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) would be happy to help you find the best care possible.

At MMC, we’ll build a customized treatment plan for you and help you access it. That includes securing a prescription, assisting with payment through insurance (if eligible), and helping select a licensed producer or medical marijuana clinic.

We have an experienced team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners that will be able to help at every step. And if you’re thinking about growing your own medical cannabis at home, we can also support you through the application process for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting, get in contact for a free consultation, connect with us by email at patientcare@medmc.ca, or call us at 1-844-312-5143 to begin your healing journey.

*NOTE: If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact a helpline: https://www.camh.ca/en/suicide-prevention/get-help.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis: Symptoms and Cannabis Treatment

medical marijuana for multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a serious degenerative disease that affects the nerves in the central nervous system. It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people worldwide live with MS. While there is no cure for MS, different treatments may slow its progress. One of the most promising treatments is medical marijuana.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, and for many, disabling disease, that affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Since everything branches off of the spinal cord, it explains why MS can attack every area of your mind and body.

As a disease, MS works like a lamp does. The light bulb represents the brain, and the chord are the nerves that run into the electrical outlet. Someone without MS would experience the electricity running through the cord without interruption. Those with MS have unravelled chords that prevent the electricity from running throughout the body properly.

Some of the most common symptoms associated with MS include:

  • Sensory symptoms
  • Motor function issues
  • Visual issues
  • Fatigue
  • Balance issues
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Urinary issues
  • Pain
  • Cognitive impairment

These might be the most common symptoms associated with MS, but everyone experiences MS differently and to varying degrees. Other symptoms can include tremors, temporary hearing loss, difficulty walking, difficulty swallowing, and mental health issues like exhaustion and depression. These symptoms can come on unexpectedly and without warning.

Multiple Sclerosis in Canada

Statistically, Canada has the highest multiple sclerosis rates in the world. In fact, among healthcare workers, MS is referred to as “Canada’s disease.”

According to the most recent data, 93,500 Canadians have been diagnosed with MS. That’s 290 cases per 100,000. Canada’s rate is almost 10 times that of the global median.

MS affects women much more than men. The rate for men is 159 cases per 100,000 while the rate for women is 418 cases per 100,000. While women are more likely to be diagnosed with MS, men are more likely to experience a more debilitating form of MS.

MS is also called an invisible disease. That’s because most of the symptoms are experienced internally and are not always visible to others. This also helps explain why it can take years for doctors to diagnose someone with MS.

Managing Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis: How Effective Is Cannabis?

MS attacks the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The marijuana plant contains dozens of compounds that can affect the mind and body. This is why more and more research is being done to determine whether cannabis can either slow the progression of MS or manage the symptoms better than other treatments.

Because medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001, more and more Canadians see it as a viable option for treating their MS. According to one recent survey, over 90% of respondents with MS have either considered using cannabis to manage their MS, have used it for MS, or have spoken to their healthcare practitioner about medical marijuana for multiple sclerosis.

The huge potential healthcare benefits of managing MS symptoms with cannabis has caught the attention of the medical community. In 2019, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Canadian Institute of Health Research joined together to provide $1.5 million in funding research into how cannabis can be used to manage MS symptoms.

While serious academic research into marijuana for MS is limited, new funding projects are expected to help accelerate the research, which could help validate the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

Spasms and Stiffness

MS is associated with chronic symptoms like muscle stiffness, pain, spasms, and insomnia. Medical trials have shown that cannabis is effective at helping patients manage specific MS symptoms, especially those associated with pain management.

One study found that muscle stiffness improved when compared to a placebo, after just 12 weeks. Respondents also reported improvements related to spasms, quality of sleep, and less intense muscle spasms.

Bladder Function

In one trial, scientists wanted to see if an oral marijuana extract had any effect on bladder function. They gave participants either the extract or a placebo for 10 weeks. While more research needs to be done, the scientists found that marijuana might improve the symptoms of bladder problems in those suffering from MS.

A systematic review conducted in 2014 backed up the claim that oral marijuana extract could be effective for treating bladder issues.

Insurance Coverage for Medical Cannabis and MS

Some insurers like Green Shield, offer medical cannabis treatment for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in a limited capacity and only after all other treatment options have been explored.  To confirm if your health insurance covers medical cannabis for MS symptoms consult with your benefits plan.

MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

If you suffer from MS and your current treatment isn’t giving you the relief you want, or if you’ve recently been diagnosed with MS and are curious about whether medical marijuana is right for you, speak with the experts at Medical Marijuana Consulting.

A trusted name in medical cannabis consulting, MCC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on the topic of medical marijuana and MS. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), and refer you to a licensed producer.

With MMC’s personalized white glove treatment, you also get access to one-on-one educational sessions that cover everything you need to know about medical cannabis, including how to safely consume medical marijuana and what dosages to take.

If you want to grow your own medical cannabis at home, our medical marijuana consulting team can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

Guide to Medical Cannabis Insurance Coverage in Ontario: ODSP, OHIP, and VAC

medical cannabis insurance coverage

Even though marijuana legalization is in the rear-view mirror in Canada, to this day there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding medical cannabis insurance coverage in Ontario, such as “does ODSP cover medical marijuana?” That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you navigate the sometimes-complicated Ontario insurance system and how it impacts your medical cannabis coverage.

In Ontario, there are multiple government-funded insurance programs that you may qualify for. In this piece, we’ll examine three of them and their policies regarding marijuana: Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).

What Is the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?

ODSP is a wide-reaching long-term assistance program that is provided by the Ontario government. It covers basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, vision care, and medication for people with disabilities.

In order to qualify for ODSP, you must be at least 18 years of age, live in Ontario, be in financial need, and qualify as a person with a disability.

Does ODSP Cover Medical Marijuana?

Currently, ODSP doesn’t cover medical marijuana; however, it is a controversial position, especially since medical marijuana is increasingly being adopted as an alternate to opiates. While opiates are covered by ODSP, they are generally considered to have more negative side effects and be more addictive than cannabis.

ODSP does cover up to $300 to purchase a vaporizer, however, so it’s not all bad news.

What Is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?

OHIP is the government-run healthcare plan in Ontario that covers almost all upfront medical costs (except dental and vision).

Ontario residents who qualify for OHIP (which is the vast majority) have access to:

  • Family doctor appointments
  • Walk-in clinic appointments and other health clinic appointments
  • Emergency room services
  • Surgeries and medical tests

It’s worth noting that OHIP, except in specific circumstances, does not cover prescription medicine.

To qualify for OHIP, you must physically be in Ontario for at least 153 days in a year and make the province your primary residence, as well as have Canadian citizenship (or a variety of near-equivalent statuses like permanent residency).

Is Medical Marijuana Covered by OHIP?

At the moment, OHIP does not cover medical marijuana, which isn’t all that surprising; OHIP does not cover most prescription drugs.

What Is Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)?

VAC is a federally run program that is meant to assist and provide support for military veterans. This includes medical funding but also extends to disability benefits, career services, and financial assistance programs.

In order to qualify for VAC services, one must have served in the Canadian Armed Forces or be currently serving.

Medical Cannabis Coverage for Veterans by VAC

VAC provides, among all the social assistance programs in this piece, the most funding for medical cannabis. VAC employs a reimbursement model that repays veterans for any cannabis legally purchased from vendors. Typically, coverage can be up to $8.50 per gram of cannabis, and some licensed producers, like Medical Cannabis By Shoppers, offer to cover any additonal costs for veterans who buy cannabis that is more than $8.50.

Other Ontario Insurance Plans That Cover Synthetic Cannabis Only

On top of those above social programs and their relation to medical cannabis, there are several other Ontario assistance programs that do provide some relief for medical marijuana users—though these programs only cover synthetic cannabis.

Ontario Works is a social assistance program that helps recipients afford food, medication, and clothing. It also provides employment assistance services to those who qualify (those in financial need).

Ontario Works does provide assistance for synthetic cannabis prescriptions. Currently, there is only one synthetic cannabinoid prescription drug available in Canada: Sativex.

Another social program, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB), also covers synthetic cannabis prescription costs.

In order to qualify for ODB, there are several prerequisites:

  • You must be 24 years old or younger and not be covered by a private insurance plan
  • You must be currently living in a long-term care home
  • You must receive assistance from Ontario Works or the ODSP
  • You must qualify for the Trillium Drug Program, which is a program designed to help those with high medication costs afford their prescription, including coverage of synthetic cannabis

Medical Marijuana Consulting for Cannabis Coverage

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to medical cannabis insurance coverage in Ontario. And that’s why Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) makes things easier with premier medical cannabis consulting services.

Let us cut away the complications, so you can start getting relief faster.

We’re experts at helping Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, first-responders, motor vehicle accident patients, and seniors access medication that can help deliver positive medical outcomes.

At MMC, we work with you to create a customized treatment plan and provide full-spectrum service, helping you secure a prescription, assist you in paying for the medicine costs through insurance (if eligible), and help select a licensed producer.

Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners will be with you every step of the way. And if you’re thinking about growing your own medical cannabis at home, we’ll help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

Get in contact for a free consultation or connect with us by email at patientcare@medmc.ca and by phone at 1-844-312-5143 to begin your healing journey.

Join now and become a part of our Ambassador Program, where you’ll receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient, helping more people get the health outcomes they deserve with medical marijuana.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

Medical Marijuana for Depression: Can Cannabis Help Treat This Mood Disorder?

medical marijuana for depression

Virtually everyone feels sad at some point. Many might even use terms like “depression” or “depressed” to describe their everyday feelings. But the normal experiences of life are not the same as being clinically depressed.

If you’re feeling permanently down or have intense feelings of sadness and have lost interest in life, it might indicate that there is a more serious issue at play: depression.

According to one recent study, depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting people in every age category. There are a variety of ways you can treat depression, from therapy to exercise, to prescription medication.

There is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that medical cannabis can be a useful treatment for depression.

What Is Depression?

Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is a mood disorder that alters brain chemistry and leaves sufferers with persistent feelings of loss, anger, and deep sadness. Just because depression originates in the brain doesn’t mean it just affects the mind.

Depression is a serious illness that affects both the mind and body and can lead to a range of physical and emotional problems. And it can be fatal.

Emotional symptoms can include anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness, feeling empty, and hopelessness. Depression can also result in physical symptoms, ranging from loss of appetite, reduced sexual desire, drinking excessively, unable to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, thinking and talking more slowly, insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, fatigue, weight changes, pains, headache, and digestive problems.

Despite the large number of symptoms, many Canadians don’t even know they are physically suffering from depression. According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, 5.4% of Canadians 15 years of age and older reported symptoms that met the criteria for a mood disorder, including4.7% for major depression.

On top of that, more than 12%, or roughly one in eight Canadian adults, said they had symptoms that fit the criteria for a mood disorder at some point in their life, including 11.3% for depression.

What does depression look like? There are a number of different types of depression, including:

  • Major Depression: A severe and persistent low mood, profound sadness, or a sense of despair. 
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Low-grade form of persistent depression once know as dysthymia. Not a minor form of depression, dysthymia can even be more disabling than major depression.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Once referred to as “manic depression” and characterized by extreme mood swings.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: SAD occurs when people are susceptible to bouts of depression during the winter months.
  • Postpartum Depression: More than just the “baby blues,” postpartum depression is a severe, long-lasting form of depression.

Causes of Depression

There are a large number of possible causes of depression, that can range from biological to circumstantial.

  • Early childhood trauma
  • Conflict with family or friends
  • Genetics/Family history
  • Social isolation
  • Loss of a friend or loved one
  • Major life transitions like divorce, infidelity, a new baby, moving away, financial loss, illness, retirement, job loss, etc.
  • Serious illness
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse

Can Marijuana Help Treat Depression?

More and more studies are being conducted on the potential benefits of using medical marijuana for depression.

One academic study from 2014 showed that medical marijuana helped with pain management. Participants reported a 64% decrease in pain while using marijuana. A large number also said they experienced less anxiety and slept better after using cannabis.

Research conducted at the University Medical Center Utrecht, in the Netherlands found that THC can alter the response to negative images or emotions. It can help modulate negative emotions or emotional processing.

And according to a 2020 research study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, many patients who used cannabis experienced antidepressant effects. The extent of the effects and each patients’ experiences, however, varied with chemotypic properties of the plant.

Does Marijuana Cause Depression?

There is lots of evidence to show that medical cannabis can help treat depression. But can marijuana use actually cause depression?

Interestingly, research suggests that those who smoke marijuana regularly or heavily, are diagnosed with depression more than non-smokers are.

But correlation is not causation. There is no link to suggest that marijuana directly causes depression. It’s thought that genetic, environmental, or other factors that trigger depression leads to marijuana use.

If you or family members have a history of mental health issues, it’s important to seek support and guidance from an experienced medical practitioner before experimenting with medical cannabis to ensure this treatment is right for you.

MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) makes it easy to access medical cannabis. As a trusted name in the industry, MMC has been providing patients across Canada with access to medical professionals who are experts on the topic of medical marijuana and depression.

Our dedicated team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), and refer you to a licensed producer.

In addition to helping, you navigate the medical marijuana system, MMC’s white glove treatment means you get access to one-on-one educational sessions that cover everything you need to know about medical cannabis, including how to safely consume medical marijuana and what dosages to take. Our cannabis clinic also helps with insurance benefits, understanding how to claim your medical cannabis on your taxes and can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 1-844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

How Medical Marijuana Can Help Tackle Anxiety

medical marijuana anxiety

Medical marijuana is not only growing in popularity, but also in applicability. Research and medical professionals are continuing to find more and more ailments that can be treated with the help of medical cannabis. And one area that’s seeing a lot of interest these days is medical marijuana for anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the world. In Canada, for instance, Statistics Canada finds that 3% of the population suffers from anxiety, or about one in 33 people.

But the upside is that anxiety can be treated—and we’re seeing more and more evidence that medical cannabis for anxiety could be part of the solution to many people’s struggles.

Let’s take a deeper look into how medical marijuana can help tackle anxiety.

What Is Anxiety?

To one degree or another, we’ve all experienced some form of stress that feels like anxiety. From asking a special someone on a date to making a speech in front of the office, everyone has experience with an anxiety-inducing episode.

But anxiety disorders are where those feelings are long-lasting and overwhelming, typically inducing crippling fear.

Anxiety disorders are typically chronic, according to Statistics Canada, and last for at least six months on average. What’s more, they tend to get worse over time when left untreated, not better. The good news is that treatments—like CBD—may significantly reduce symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

The most common symptoms of anxiety are a sense of overwhelming fear and dread, which can in turn affect your ability to function at work or in social settings.

Other symptoms include:

  • Worry
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Debilitation or exhaustion

What Is the Difference between Anxiety and Stress?

As mentioned earlier, everyone has experienced stress or an anxiety-inducing episode at least once in their life, but those with anxiety disorders struggle with recurring, persistent, and long-term anxiety attacks, which can lead to the above symptoms.

In other words, stress is dealing with the day-to-day rigours of life, while anxiety tends to be internally sourced and more intractable.

Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Anxiety

Even before medical marijuana was legalized in Canada, many parts of the U.S., and in several other countries around the world, many people were self-medicating with cannabis.

That’s because marijuana has shown signs of being able to help treat the many symptoms of anxiety.

There is a growing body of research showing cannabidiol (also known as CBD, a cannabis molecule that is non-intoxicating) reduces stress levels and other anxiety-related symptoms in animals, with those results likely replicable in humans with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Fear, one of the most debilitating symptoms of an anxiety disorder, also shows marked improvement in studies. While this research isn’t conclusive as of yet, it does show promising signs that medical marijuana for anxiety in Canada could be helpful in treating many people’s mental health.

Even trauma-related disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have seen positive change as the result of CBD treatments. And better yet, cannabidiol carries with it fewer side effects. More evidence suggests that CBD could present a viable alternative to more common therapeutic treatments of PTSD. 

If you’re interested in seeing if medical cannabis for anxiety is right for you, see a medical marijuana consulting service or a medical marijuana clinic to find out more.  

Can Marijuana React with Other Anxiety Medications?

If you’re already taking other medication, does that mean that you can’t take medical marijuana for anxiety?

So far, the available studies and patient reports show that some mixes are more concerning than others. At this time, we lack the necessary research to definitively say “yes” or “no”, so you’re always best off connecting with a medical professional before mixing treatments.

Research has shown that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), like Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro, have shown very few adverse interactions with cannabis. This also applies to NDRIs (norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors) like Wellbutrin, Aplenzin, and Forfivo.

So, while experts still need to see more research before they can concretely say that marijuana poses no risk to a patient when mixed with other common anxiety treatments, the early signs are very positive.

Contact a Premier Medical Cannabis Clinic to Get Medical Cannabis for Anxiety

Anxiety is a struggle that you or your loved one should not have to embark on alone.

Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) knows how difficult anxiety disorders can be to the patient and their family and friends. That’s why MMC has stepped in to help patients find the best medical cannabis treatment plan to address their symptoms.

We specialize in helping Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, first-responders, motor vehicle accident patients, and seniors discover superior health outcomes with the help of medical cannabis.

We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan and provide end-to-end service that will help you secure a prescription, assist you in paying for the medicine costs through insurance (if eligible), and help select a licensed producer.

Be supported during your treatment with our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners. And if you’re thinking about growing your own medical cannabis at home, we’ll help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

Get in contact for a free consultation or connect with us by email at patientcare@medmc.ca and by phone at 1-844-312-5143 to begin your healing journey.

Join now and become a part of our Ambassador Program, where you’ll receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient, helping more people get the health outcomes they deserve with medical marijuana.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

Using CBD Oil for Arthritis Pain Relief

cbd oil for arthritis pain relief

While recreational cannabis only became legal in Canada in October 2018, medical marijuana has been around a lot longer. In fact, medical marijuana has been used to legally treat a large number of health conditions since 2001.

And there is mounting evidence to suggest medical cannabis can help alleviate symptoms associated with Canada’s most prevalent chronic health condition: arthritis.

If you think arthritis is a condition that only afflicts those who are older—think again. Arthritis can strike at any age and it never goes away. According to the Arthritis Society, six million Canadians have arthritis; that’s 20% of the population. That number is rising too. By 2040, almost 25% of the Canadian population, or 1 in 4, will have arthritis.

A complex disease with over 100 variants, arthritis results in painful inflammation and stiffness of joints, which seriously impedes the ability to live a full life. And, if left untreated, it can cause permanent joint damage.

While there is no cure for arthritis, there is hope. If you suffer from arthritis or other forms of chronic pain, cannabidiol (CBD) oil could play an important role in relieving the symptoms associated with these chronic conditions.

What Is CBD Oil?

There are more than 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis that can affect your body and mind. The two that doctors know the most about are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is the compound that gets you high when you smoke, eat, or vape marijuana. CBD does not make you high. It may cause some drowsiness, though. That’s why many people choose CBD oil products to help them deal with their medical conditions instead of smoking or consuming marijuana.

It’s important to note that while CBD alone can help treat inflammation and pain, it is often recommended that patients use a product with at least a small amount of THC as these two compounds play well together. A high CBD product with a small amount of THC can often provide patients with better symptom management. So, don’t rule out THC as part of your treatment.

Thanks to the growing acceptance of medical and recreational marijuana, there has been an increase in the number of CBD oil products you can find. It’s also why so many people are turning to CBD oil products to help treat various health issues.

According to the most recent data, about 9.5% of medical cannabis users in Canada reported using CBD products. And the number one reason why was due to pain. In fact, inflammation, nerve pain, muscle pain, and joint pain accounted for more than 20% of all conditions cited by users.

Those who use CBD oil say they have experienced an improvement in pain or stiffness, physical function, sleep, and their overall well-being.

Does CBD Oil Work for Arthritis Pain?

Research evaluating how CBD oil works for arthritis pain is underway, and the data is encouraging.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • A 2008 study found that CBD used to treat chronic pain reduced pain and improved sleep without any negative side effects.
  • A 2016 study conducted at the University of Toronto and University of Ottawa found that CBD oil had potent anti-inflammatory properties.
  • In the summer of 2015, a Canadian researcher at the Dalhousie University in Halifax began a study trying to determine whether medical marijuana can help repair arthritic joins and relieve pain.
  • A 2019 survey of more than 1,000 people suffering from arthritis found that 57% of those had used cannabis to treat their symptoms with more than 90% saying it helped ease their pain.
  • A study published in May 2019 found that rheumatoid arthritis patients said medical cannabis was an alternative therapy they liked to use with prescription medications or as means of tapering off these medications.
  • A large survey of medical cannabis users in Arizona found that 77% of fibromyalgia patients, 63% of patients with arthritis, and 51% of those suffering from neuropathic pain reported experiencing “a lot or almost complete overall pain relief .”

Taken together, studies like these shed light into the wide range of clinical uses of CBD oil and medical cannabis.

How Does CBD Oil Help in Providing Pain Relief?

A large number of studies have been conducted but the scientific community still hasn’t come to consensus on how CBD oil for pain relief works.

What the research suggests though is that cannabinoids, like CBD, interact with receptors in the brain that influence pain and inflammation in the body. It is thought that CBD blocks certain receptors that allow levels of a neurotransmitter called anandamide to increase in the body. Anandamide is one of two cannabinoids the human body naturally produces.

What does that mean? Scientists think that CBD affects the way these receptors respond to the signals they receive, which leads to reduced inflammation and pain.

Again, there is data to back this up. A 2017 review found that CBD helped with chronic neuropathic pain. And a 2020 review reported that CBD could be beneficial for relieving chronic pain, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.

Are There Any Side Effects of CBD Oil?

There really are very few negative side effects associated with moderate doses of CBD oil. The most common reported side effects include dry mouth, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue, and diarrhea.

CBD is thought to have the potential to interact with some drugs taken by those suffering from arthritis pain. So, it’s important to talk to a healthcare practitioner that has an extensive background in CBD.

Medical Marijuana Consulting, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple

Studies confirm that CBD oil is effective in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. If you’re thinking of medicating with CBD oil or medical marijuana, it’s important that you talk to a healthcare professional and develop a personalized medical cannabis treatment plan. If you’re not sure where to begin, contact the medical cannabis consulting professionals at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC).

At MMC, our holistic approach to prescribing medical cannabis helps our patients navigate the medical marijuana system and get the access to medical cannabis they deserve. We specialize in helping veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, first-responders, motor vehicle accident patients, and seniors

Not only will we work with you to create a personal treatment plan, our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, assist you in getting your prescription costs covered through your insurance provider (if eligible), and help patients to select a licensed producer.

Our white glove treatment means you’re never alone. MMC also offers one-on-one educational sessions on everything you need to know about medical cannabis, including how to safely consume medical marijuana.

Want to grow your own medical cannabis at home? We can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at patientcare@medmc.ca.

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?

How to Get Coverage with Your Insurance Provider

Many major insurance companies include medical cannabis in their insurance plans. You may already be using medical cannabis and not even know that your insurer will cover it.  

Here’s a list of the most common insurance companies in Canada who include medical cannabis in their plans.  

Sunlife 

Sunlife reimburses medical cannabis if it is part of a treatment plan for cancer symptoms, multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS and individuals requiring palliative care. The amount you can be reimbursed depends on which plan you choose and the coverage is available through an Optional Coverage plan.  

The Cooperators  

The Cooperators reimburse medical cannabis patients who have had a diagnosis of chronic pain, muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS), and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Patients can access this coverage through Optional Coverage in an existing plan. 

Greenshield  

Greenshield provides coverage to patients for medical cannabis when they’ve been diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and nausea/vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy. Coverage can be accessed through Optional Coverage in an existing plan. 

Desjardin 

Coverage for medical cannabis with Desjardin is available for treatments of cancer symptoms, refractory neuralgia, nausea and vomiting, caused by chemotherapy, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis or a lesion of the spinal cord. Your coverage can be accessed through a Healthcare Spending Account.

Manulife  

With Manulife, cannabis reimbursement is available for patients who have been diagnosed with stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms, Multiple Sclerosis, nausea and vomiting, undergoing chemotherapy, and chronic neuropathic pain. Coverage is available through a Healthcare Spending Account. 

If you have further questions about how to get coverage for your medical cannabis give is a call 1-844-312-5143 

Or email patientcare@medmc.ca. We’re always happy to help 🙂 

Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?