Medical Cannabis 101

Your Introduction to Medical Cannabis

Welcome to MMC!

If you’re considering medical cannabis treatment this guide is your introduction to everything you need to know. From the history of cannabis in Canada, what cannabis is and how you can take it, to practical information about access with MMC, this medical cannabis 101 will give you all the basics. 

A History of Medical Cannabis in Canada

In 2001 the Canadian government launched Canadian Medical Marihuana Access Regulations allowing patients across the country access to medical cannabis. Then, in 2016, it was made possible for Canadians to acquire a Grow Your Own Licence, legally permitting patients to grow their own cannabis from home. This came with the launch of Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, which it remains as to this day. 

2018 marks a milestone for cannabis use in Canada, as recreational cannabis was legalized. Leading to wide distribution and access to cannabis products. Significant, in-depth research on the medical benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. And now, Licensed Producers are taking their knowledge of cannabis to create innovative, lab-tested products for both medical and recreational cannabis needs.  

It is easier now than ever to access medical cannabis, with the help of a clinic like MMC, and you don’t even need a referral from your doctor to do so.  

Let’s find out how.  

The MMC Experience

Our medical cannabis 101 isn’t just about the products or the history. We’ve also included how our process works.

How You Can Get Access With MMC
  • STEP 1: Book your free appointment with MMC on our online telemedicine platform. 
  • STEP 2: Speak to an experienced Health Care Practitioner to assess the most suitable medical cannabis treatment plan, specifically tailored to help relieve your medical condition.   
  • STEP 3: Secure your Medical Cannabis Prescription 
  • STEP 4: Have a member of our Patient Care Team give you a one on one Education Session to help you navigate Licensed Producers and products to find the most suitable one for you.  
  • STEP 5: Have your Licensed Producer send your medical cannabis in the mail, delivering straight to your door.  
  • STEP 6: Let our Patient Care Team check in to see how you are doing with your treatment and provide ongoing education on everything you need to know about medical cannabis. 

Medical Cannabis 101: The Basics  

So, what is cannabis?

You may’ve heard it called by other names – marijuana, weed, pot, reefer, dope – but cannabis is the scientific name for the plant.  

Like corn, lettuce and peas, cannabis is an annual plant, which has two sexes, male and female, but it’s the flowers (buds) of the female plant that are harvested, trimmed and cured then inhaled or ingested as dried flower or extract.

What are cannabinoids?  

Cannabinoids are the compounds found in cannabis. These little cannabinoids are the active ingredients which give cannabis its medicinal benefits. There are many different cannabinoids and each produces its own unique effect when consumed. Let’s talk about the two you ought to know about, THC and CBD. 

What is THC?

You may well have heard of this cannabinoid, THC, as it’s one of the most well-known. It’s characteristic for its psychoactive effect, producing the ‘high’ feeling people talk about. It can induce sleep, ease pain and increase appetite and mental acuity to help patients feel better.  

What is CBD?

CBD is the Yin to THC’s Yang, this, equally important cannabinoid, is non-intoxicating and known for its anti-inflammatory effect. Medical cannabis products with high levels of CBD are noted for helping patients with a spectrum of conditions including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease. 

The reason we can feel the effects of cannabinoids like CBD and THC is because our bodies have a biological system which interacts with these compounds, the Endocannabinoid System. 

What is the Endocannabinoid System?  

The Endocannabinoid System is biological system, first discovered in the early 90’s by researchers investigating THC and its effects. This system is made up of endocannabinoids which are receptors and enzymes which regulate sleep, mood, memory, appetite, reproduction and pain sensation. In fact, endocannabinoids very similar to cannabinoids except they’re biological and part of your body! As well as helping our internal functions run smoothly, when we consume cannabis it’s the endocannabinoids which bind to the cannabinoids in cannabis so we can feel their effects. 

What are terpenes?  

When you consume cannabis, you might be able to taste lemon, cinnamon or clove. You might smell pepper, pine or grass. This is because of terpenes. Terpenes are the flavours and aromas found in of cannabis which give each variety of cannabis its unique flavour. The reason cannabis smells or tastes like something you’re already familiar with is because the same terpenes are found in other plants. You can find high levels of terpenes in mangoes, apples, citrus fruits, spices and hops used to make beer. 

What is the Entourage Effect?  

The Entourage Effect describes unique effects which are produced when different compounds in cannabis interact with each other. Whether it’s between different cannabinoids or cannabinoids and terpenes.  

For example, when CBD is consumed with THC people have found they experience less of the undesirable effects of THC like paranoia and anxiety.  

The Entourage Effect is something our Patient Advisors and experienced Nurse Practitioners will consider when advising specific cannabis products for medicinal use. To find the effect needed to help relieve each patients’ individual symptoms. 

Common Misconceptions of Indica & Sativa 

There are three subspecies of the cannabis plant Sativa, Indica and Hybrid (a combination of the Sativa and Indica).  

Myths

You might see Sativa, Indica and Hybrid varieties advertised to have particular effects when taken. Sativa is sometimes called “energizing, uplifting and best for day time use”. While Indica “relaxes the mind and produces a body buzz suited for nighttime use”.  

While this might be the effect for some people there isn’t actually any scientific evidence to back these claims up. 

Ask the Experts  

Our experienced Healthcare Practitioners and Patient Advisors are experts and advise our patients based on their knowledge of scientific research to guide our patients towards suitable products, with proven effects. 

Popular Product Formats  

Cannabis isn’t a one size fits all treatment.  

Part of any medical cannabis 101 should include an overview of the different ways you can take your medicine. You may find that you want to try a couple of different methods at first, to see which best suits your needs. Here are some of the most popular product formats available. 

Method – Inhaling 

Format Options

Flower

Dried cannabis flower is available as whole flower or pre-milled. All dried flower products are activated through heat and consumed by smoking or vaping. Smoking is the most popular method because it’s fast acting. However, it isn’t often recommended for medicinal use as it’s harsh on the lungs.   

Vaporizers  

Vaporizers are devices which turn cannabis into vapor instead of smoke. Using a vaporizer is a great alternative to smoking as it has the same immediate effect, without being as harsh on the lungs and are commonly used by long-term medical cannabis users. There are two types: 

Loose Leaf Vaporizers 

You put dried flower in these devices, which contain a heating compartment, to burn and maintain at a heat before combustion takes place. In these, the dried flower generally lasts longer than if its smoked. Depending on the vaporizer used, you may also be able to save the cannabis after vaping for use in edibles. 

Concentrated Oil Vaporizers  

Unlike flower, concentrated cannabis oil comes in the form of a cartridge which is then attached to the battery of a vaporizing device. One of the benefits of using an oil vaporizer is that it doesn’t create much smell which makes it a discreet consumption option. Also, there are fewer steps involved than smoking or using a Loose Leaf Vaporizer, since the product is generally bought ready to go. 

Methods – Ingesting

Format Options

Edibles

Edibles are cannabis-infused foods, such as chocolates, gummies, and drinks. This format is a brilliant alternative for patients who don’t want to inhale cannabis or don’t like the taste of cannabis, as it’s partially masked by the flavour of these tasty treats. Unlike inhaling, edibles can take a few hours to feel the effects (2-4 hours).  

Oils

Oils are one of the most discreet methods of taking medical cannabis and are very popular among our patients. Patients can take oils using a tincture, to dispense droplets under the tongue, as spray or taken with food and mixed in beverages. Oils also come in the form of soft gel capsules. 

Method – Topical

Topicals

Topicals are cannabis infused balms, lotions and sprays used for localized swelling, pain and soreness. They’re non psychoactive, which is great for patients who want relief but don’t want to get ‘high’. CBD infused topicals are used to help relieve symptoms such as inflammation associated with arthritis as well as other skin disorders.

Ingesting Vs. Inhaling

So, I can either inhale or ingest my medical cannabis but what’s the difference?

The biggest difference between these two consumption methods is how long it takes to feel the effects of the cannabis when consumed and long the effects last. See the table below to compare.

InhalingIngesting

1 inhale
Starting Dose 2.5mg of THC & CBD

Seconds to minutes
How Long it Takes to Feel the Effects30 mins – 3 hrs

Up to 6 hours
DurationUp to 12 hours
Through the lungs
directly into the bloodstream 
How the Cannabis is AbsorbedFrom the GI tract
it metabolizes in
the liver before entering the bloodstream 

FAQs

We are just about done this comprehensive medical cannabis 101 but first we want to answer some common questions:

Do I need a referral?

No, we do not require you to have a referral to obtain a medical cannabis prescription. We do recommend reaching out to your family physician to discuss medical cannabis, and we’re happy to send reports to them if requested.

Is there a fee?

Our services for obtaining a medical cannabis prescription are completely free!

Do I need to come into an office to meet with a Nurse Practitioner?

Your appointment and our white-glove patient services provided will all take place over a virtual platform, or over the phone depending on your comfort level.

How long will it take to get the medical cannabis, from the time I submit an intake form?

We try to make this process as simple and easy as possible, by providing white-glove patient services. Depending on the day you submit your intake form, we should be able to book your virtual appointment to obtain a prescription within a week. Registered with a Licensed Producer (LP) to purchase from can take between 1 and 7 days.

How much does medical cannabis usually cost?

The price and average cost varies based on the producer, strain and form. You can typically expect to pay between $5-12 per gram. Most Licensed Producers (LP) have discounts and special pricing available for low income, seniors and First Responders.

Why do I need a prescription if cannabis is legal?

There are many benefits to being a medical cannabis patient versus self-medicating. Here are a few of our favourite reasons:

  • Medical cannabis prescriptions can be covered under insurance (all insurance plans are different, so make sure to check your coverage).
  • Medical cannabis can be written off, and is applicable for tax returns.
  • Compassionate pricing, discounts for Seniors and other groups are available from Licensed Producers.
  • Ordering is all done online, with the products being shipped directly to your door by Canada Post or Purolator.
  • Medical cannabis products have a wider variety of CBD dominant products available and often have other rapid on-set formats not available in the recreational market.
  • By obtaining a medical cannabis prescription, your treatment will be supervised by one of our specialized Nurse Practitioners. If any of your practitioners want to be kept updated on your treatment, we’re happy to send them informed with reports.
  • Medical cannabis patients often report a reduction in other prescription medications like opioids, etc.

Hopefully, this medical cannabis 101 answered all your burning questions. But if not you can always contact us and we will happily answer any other questions or concerns you may have.

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Ready for your medical cannabis prescription?