Here you will find information about the use of legal cannabis.
Medical Cannabis Basics
Disclaimer: The information contained on this webpage should be used as a guide, and should not be considered medical or legal advice. Furthermore, this document is only to be used by patients who are prescribed medical cannabis at a CQS Clinic.
What is Medical Cannabis?
Medical Cannabis is cannabis that is consumed for medical purposes, by a registered medical cannabis patient, who is prescribed medical cannabis by an authorized HealthCare Practitioner.
Medical Cannabis can be the dried plant matter, flowers/buds of the cannabis plant, a cannabis oil, capsule or variety of other approved medical cannabis products, produced by a Health Canada approved Licensed Producer.
There are two main components in the cannabis plant, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which both belong to a class of compounds called cannabinoids. Other cannabinoids exist, but less is known about the effects of these compounds.
CBD has neuroprotective, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to relieve pain but does not make people feel “high”. Many people report great relief from strains of medical cannabis that are rich in CBD.
THC also has some pain-relieving effects and believed to cause the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Patients often report that strains containing levels of THC also help with sleep, depression, PTSD and pain.
Will Medical Cannabis Make me High?
You do not need to ‘get high’ to benefit from medical cannabis. Cannabis contains two main compounds – CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound that creates that ‘high’ or euphoria effect and CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning there is no ‘high’ obtained from it. Both compounds are medically beneficial and used often in combination with each other for best effect.
With that said, many patients choose to use strains that are very low in the compound THC, and rich in the compound CBD during the day, in order to manage their symptoms, without feeling ‘high’. Based on your needs, we will help you create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your concerns and treatment goals to ensure maximum benefit.
Can I Get a Medical Cannabis Prescription Without a Doctor’s Referral?
If you’re unable to get your family doctor to fill out our referral form, please bring any medical records (i.e., MRI’s, consultation notes etc) to verify your condition. A list of current or previously tried medication is also acceptable (a print out from the pharmacy is preferred).
Medical cannabis patients have 3 main options for administering their medicine:
- Dried Cannabis: which should be vaporized and inhaled
- Edible Cannabis Oils: which are placed under the tongue then swallowed
- Cannabis Oil Capsules: which are swallowed like a regular pill
Each method can affect the body differently and a CQS patient educator will work with you to choose a method, or combination of methods best for you and your condition.
You do not want to smoke your medication?
Health Canada and CQS recommend that medical cannabis be administered by vaporization. Research has shown that vaporization can be up to 80% more effective than smoking, which means that with vaporization you are able to use less medication for the same effect, then if you smoked it. Additionally, vaporization produces approximately 95% fewer carcinogens and is less likely to irritate the upper airway, versus smoking cannabis.
It is important to remember that smoking cannabis, just as smoking anything else, is carcinogenic. It is not healthy for you to consume anything by the process of smoking. The use of pipes, bongs or other methods that require burning the cannabis are just as unhealthy as smoking cannabis cigarettes.
Many recreational users of cannabis choose to produce edible products out of cannabis. Under the medical cannabis regulations, it is not permitted to produce other products using the medicine, including baked goods, oils or “budder”. More importantly, cannabis has unpredictable effects on people when consumed in this manner, making it potentially unsafe and unreliable as a treatment.
The basic cost for a prescription is $ 250. The cost may vary depending on the condition and needs of the patient.
The majority of our patients suffer from pain, anxiety and / or sleep problems, and traditional medicines and treatments have been ineffective. If you have any illness or symptoms that affect your quality of life, whether you are naive to cannabis or have been caring for yourself for many years, please contact us to learn more about the benefits of medical cannabis.
Only patients who have made an appointment will be seen by CQS physicians. From time to time, we arrange a last minute consultation and we can attend walk-in visits, but it is always advisable to call ahead to make sure you are ready for your first appointment with us.
Please bring with you:
- A valid health insurance card
- A list of all current and past medications
- All the documentation that CQS asked you to fill
We understand that patients may have some concerns after receiving a prescription for medical cannabis. We will offer an educational session following your initial visit and we will endeavor to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
You do NOT need a reference to be seen at CQS. If your doctor is uncomfortable with medical cannabis, please contact us. We are here to help you and we are committed to being as accessible to patients as possible. CQS is currently accepting patients without referral.
When heated, marijuana releases THC and CBD. It is thought that when these compounds enter the body, they prevent the brain from understanding nerve signals from the site of pain.
- dizziness, drowsiness, fainting or lightheadedness, tiredness, headache;
- memory problems and attention disorders, concentration and the ability to think and make decisions;
- disorientation, confusion, feeling "drunk", feeling abnormal or having abnormal thoughts, feeling "too frozen", feelings of unreality, feeling of extreme slowing down of time;
- distrust, nervousness, anxiety episodes resembling a panic attack, paranoia (loss of contact with reality), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that do not exist);
- impairments in motor skills and perception, impaired body perceptions, loss of total control of body movements, falls;
- dry mouth, throat irritation, coughing;
- nausea Vomiting;
- rapid pulse.
Please note that there may be side effects that are not yet known. You should always consult a doctor if you experience any of these side effects or if you experience something unexpected.
Medical cannabis is not a unique treatment. This requires working with a qualified health professional and his team to ensure maximum success and relief. This type of treatment is not available at retail stores. If you are a patient with medical cannabis, it is always advisable to have the advice, support and ongoing supervision of a doctor and a clinic specializing in cannabis. For more information on why you want to keep your medical cannabis prescription after legalization, please visit our blog here.
Your prescription for medical cannabis will remain valid after legalization. We encourage you to attend your follow-up appointment for renewal, to ensure you continue to have access to medical cannabis and support.
Medical cannabis patients are free to consume their medications as needed, even in public, provided they comply with local anti-smoking laws. This means that if you have to spray your medicine while traveling, you are free to do so. Recreational consumers will be restricted to using cannabis for recreational purposes in private spaces, such as their homes.
Cannabis can be confusing for a novice user because there are hundreds of strains available in the recreational and medical market. Each strain contains a unique profile of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that act in unison to produce the effects felt by users. It takes time to determine which strain and terpene profile best suits individual needs, as well as to determine the appropriate dosage for each strain.
There are three basic classes of cannabis: Indica, Sativa and Hybrid. Each class produces distinct effects, even if these effects differ from one strain to another.
It may take months, if not years, for medical cannabis users to determine which cannabis strain (s) best meet their needs, so do not give up! It is also advisable to work with a CQS consultant who can provide more information on terpenes and flavinoids, as well as recommendations on different cannabis products. The consultants will also help individuals to establish a dosing schedule and a treatment plan.
The CQS Cannabis Clinic has an experienced team and consultants who help cannabis users get the most out of their medications.
All cannabis belongs to the genus flowering plants of the family Cannabaceae and the question of whether there are two or three species in the genus cannabis sativa is currently the subject of debate. These species include Cannabis sativa, Cannabis, Indica and Cannabis ruderalis. Often Cannabis ruderalis is associated with Cannabis sativa or all three are treated as a subspecies of the only species Cannabis sativa.
Whatever the scientific designation of the different cannabis plants, they all have unique qualities and produce different effects. Due to the multiplication of cannabis genes, it is very rare to find a pure sativa or indica strain. Most strains became a hybrid comprising both Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica genes.
Nowadays, cannabis is referred to by its original name. It has become common to buy cannabis called Northern Lights, Purple Haze, Blueberry or Green Crack and each strain with a unique name has different effects depending on its cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid profiles.
Cannabinoids and terpenes are two different compounds found in sativa cannabis plants and cannabis indicas. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the best known cannabinoids in cannabis, although researchers have determined that there are over 100 additional cannabinoids in the plant. Cannabinoids contribute to the effects of cannabis but are not the only ones responsible for the effects that a user will feel.
Terpenes are the essential oils contained in all plants. Terpenes are also present in the resin of cannabis flowers and give each variety its unique smell and taste. Essential oils have been used in medicine for thousands of years and continue to be popular in modern times. Researchers are also beginning to show that it is perhaps the terpene profile of different strains of cannabis that causes its different effects.
For example, Pinene is the most common terpene in the world and has anti-inflammatory properties. Pinene is present in many common foods and plants, including orange peels, pine, basil, parsley and cannabis. Pinene has also been shown to improve airflow to the lungs, promote alertness and combat short-term memory loss due to THC consumption.
Myrcene is another naturally occurring terpene in mangoes, thyme, hops, lemongrass and basil. It is also the most common terpene in cannabis and can make up to 50% of the terpenes of some cannabis strains. Myrcene has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as sedative and muscle relaxant effects. It is common that indica strains contain a high percentage of myrcene, which gives it the "couch lock" effects that most users feel.
The terpene profiles of different cannabis strains can be as important as the cannabinoid profile to understand the therapeutic benefits that a user will feel when consuming each variety.
The surrounding effect occurs when cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids act together in the body to enhance the effects of cannabis. Cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids and many of them are not psychoactive, such as cannabidiol (CBD), a well-known compound. Although many cannabinoids are non-psychoactive, they reinforce the effects of THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids.
Dr. Ethan Russo, M.D. is a neurologist who has spent his life studying cannabis compounds and their role in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In Russo's study, "Mastering THC: Potential Synergy Between Cannabis and the Surrounding Effects of Phytocannabinoids and Terpenoids," he explains how cannabinoids affect how others work. Russo concluded that his data supports "the concept that the selective selection of phytocannabinoid-rich and terpenoids-rich cannabis chemotypes offers complementary pharmacological activities that can strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index of extracts." cannabis containing THC or other basic phytocannabinoids ". In other words, cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids acting together are more powerful than their distinct entities.
Due to years of cannabis genetics, it is very rare to find a "pure sativa" or "pure indica" strain. Most modern varieties are a hybrid of the sativa and indica genes and produce effects somewhere in the middle of the two types of cannabis. As a result, almost all cannabis can be considered a hybrid variety.
Because medical cannabis can be used to treat a wide range of symptoms, it is important to understand what is consumed. Indica dominant cannabis strains generally have a short, bushy stalk, broad, broad leaves, and a short distance between nodes. They also tend to produce a higher yield compared to sativa or hybrid plants. The drugs produced by the indica plant tend to have higher CBD levels and a lower THC content.
Indica varieties are well known for their "couch lock" effects that produce feelings of relaxation, drowsiness and calm. Indica strains are medically used to treat symptoms such as irritation, muscle tension, nausea, acute pain, loss of appetite and feelings of depression. Indica strains also increase dopamine in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling pleasure.
Indica strains may be more appropriate for nocturnal use as they produce drowsiness and sedative effects. Common indica varieties include Northern Lights, Afghani Kush, Blue Mystic and O.G. Kush.
Alternatively, sativas are well known for the euphoric and energizing feelings they produce. Sativa strains tend to have a higher THC content and a lower CBD content. They grow with thin, narrow leaves and large internodal spaces. Sativa plants tend to produce fewer flowers than their indica counterparts and take longer to grow.
Sativas are recommended for daytime use as they produce energizing effects. They are generally used to treat anxiety, depression and chronic pain, as well as to increase concentration and creativity. Sativa strains also increase serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating learning, mood, sleep, anxiety and appetite.
Some of the most popular sativa varieties are Jack Herer, Happy Feet, Green Crack and Sour Diesel.
The hybrid strains are somewhere in the middle of the sativa and indica strains and are expressed as the ratio of indica to sativa or vice versa. For example, an 80% indica strain, 20% is listed as a 4: 1 predominantly indica hybrid. A hybrid strain composed of 50% indica and 50% sativa is a 50:50 hybrid.
Hybrids are well known for their mixed effects that treat a wide range of symptoms. Medical consumers prefer hybrids because they do not produce the intense effects of a sativa or indica, but rather a softer version of both.
Some well known 50/50 hybrid strains include: White Widow, Afghan Haze, Orange Agent and BC Big Bud.
As a cannabis user for medical purposes, it is extremely important to understand the medicine you are taking. Often, a series of trial and error is needed to determine which strain works best for treating undesirable symptoms.
For example, a person with chronic pain and depression may prefer the edifying effects of a sativa. While an individual suffering from chronic anxiety and muscle contractures may prefer the relaxing effects of an indica.
It is important to work with a multidisciplinary team of specialists to help determine which drug is appropriate. This may include cannabis specialists, patient educators and licensed producers (LPs). All of these people will be able to guide medical cannabis users to the appropriate strains and products for their needs.
Finally, know where your medicine comes from. While medical cannabis users may be tempted to shop in the gray market, these cannabis-based products are unregulated and may hinder the medical action of cannabis that an individual seeks. Authorized Producers (LPs) must adhere to stringent quality assurance guidelines and testing, and produce products that meet high quality standards. Cannabis produced by licensed producers is for medical use and is free of contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.