How to get a Medical Marijuana Prescription from Apollo


If you’ve decided that you’re ready to try
medicinal cannabis, we welcome you. We know that for some of you, it may have been a long road of pain and suffering to reach this point, and we are here with open arms to make your journey using cannabis based medicine, easy, educational and as comfortable as possible. For those looking into medical cannabis for the first time, it can often seem overwhelming and confusing to figure out how to actually become a legal cannabis patient. This article will go over everything you need to know about how to obtain a medical marijuana prescription from Apollo Marijuana Clinic. So if you’re ready to take the plunge, read on! We will go over eligibility requirements, how to book an appointment, what to bring and what to expect at your first cannabis appointment with us.

Eligibility Requirements

In order for you to book an appointment with one of our Psychiatrists, Pain Doctors or other qualified physicians, you need to meet some basic eligibility requirements:

  • Have an eligible condition that can be treated by medical cannabis ( see below )
  • Be over age 25 ( some exceptions apply – please call us for more details )
  • Have never been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 or Schizophrenia

Conditions Treated by Medical Cannabis

Most of our patients suffer with chronic pain, however marijuana can help countless medical conditions including ( but not limited to):

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • PTSD
  • Epilepsy/ seizures
  • ADHD
  • And more!

If you are unsure if your medical condition is eligible for treatment with Medical cannabis, please give us a call so we can do a preliminary phone screening.

How to Book an Appointment

There are 2 ways patients can book an appointment with a doctor at our clinic:

1. Referral from a Doctor

If your doctor is supportive of your decision to explore medical cannabis as a viable option for your condition, the easiest way to get an appointment with an Apollo doctor is through a referral from your family doctor/ specialists. Ask your doctor to fill out this referral form and fax it to us. When we receive the referral fax, we will then contact you to set up an appointment time.

2. “Walk-in” Appointment with Supporting Documents

If your family doctor is a little more old school and hasn’t quite come around to the benefits of medical cannabis, no problem. All we need is supporting documentation of your primary condition in order to book your appointment. Supporting documentation can include a list of prescription medications you may currently be on, or have been using in the past for your condition, clinical notes with a diagnosis from a doctor, MRI’s, X-rays, etc. You will need to either bring in your supporting documentation when you have your appointment, or fax/ email your documents into us prior to your appointment.

Appointments Types

Once you have your paperwork sorted out, whether that’s a referral or your medical documentation, it’s time to book an appointment with our clinic. You can either call us at Toll free at 1(877) 560-9195 or email us at info@apolloresearch.ca.

There are 2 ways you can have an appointment with one of our doctors:

1.In Clinic

Our clinic is located in North York and is easily accessible by either public transit or car. If you live in the GTA, this option is recommended as we can book you in for an appointment at an earlier date and you get to speak with the doctor face-to-face. The appointment is a 3 step process that involves a thorough examination of your medical history ( triage ), the appointment with the Doctor, and then a 1-on-1, individualized education/ orientation session with one of our Patient educators. They will ensure you are 100% comfortable and confident in your treatment plan with medical cannabis.

2. OTN ( Ontario TeleMedicine Network )

If you do not live in the GTA but live in Ontario, we also offer something called OTN or Ontario Telemedicine Network. This means your appointment with our doctor will occur over a video conference call and take place in a hospital or other medical building close to you. Post-appointment, one of our patient educations will still call you to go over your prescription, where to get your medical cannabis, how to take the medicine, legalities of being a medical cannabis patient and much more.

Your First Medical Marijuana Appointment: What to Bring & What to Know

What to Bring:

  • A valid government issued Health Card
  • A list of medications you are currently taking
  • Your supporting documentation, if we don’t already have it (Referral or your documentation)

What to Know:

  • Please arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment as there are some forms that need to be filled out prior to seeing a physician
  • You will have to provide a urine sample upon arrival at the clinic
  • Give yourself some time. We do our best to keep the flow of our clinic running smoothly and efficiently but sometimes we experience a delay given the nature of a Doctor’s office.
  • There are 3 steps: You will first be seen by a Physician’s assistant for Triage where they will take your medical history. You will then be seen by our physician. If cannabis is right for you, you will then be given a tailored medical marijuana prescription.You then sit down with one of our patient educators who will go over an extensive information package with you and ensure you are 100% comfortable and confident in your new treatment plan with Medical Cannabis.
  • We have a $53.10+Tax Orientation & Registration Processing fee. Your actual doctor’s appointment is covered by OHIP, however the educational service we offer has a 1-time fee. This education session will also help you choose and register with a Licensed Producer (LP), who you actually order and receive your medical cannabis from. Some LP’s even offer on the spot delivery so you can order with us in clinic and have your medicine on the way by the time you leave!

We hope this road map to the process of getting a medical marijuana prescription with Apollo was helpful and informative. We encourage you to email or call us at any point for more information, or to book your first appointment. We appreciate you taking the time to learn more about medical cannabis and we look forward to hearing from you, so we can help you discover if this is a good option for your health care.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information on Medical Cannabis, Apollo’s Medical Cannabis Research and our clinic.

Speak to you soon!

 

The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Medical Marijuana in Canada

For many Canadians, gaining legal access to safe, reliable medical marijuana is the golden ticket to a life worth living. However, with so much conflicting information in the news and online about marijuana dispensaries, coupled with the anticipated, alleged legalization of Cannabis on Canada day 2018, we wanted to shed some light on how medical cannabis works in Canada at the present time. If you’re finding yourself confused by the ‘grey area’ that medical marijuana seems to be categorized in these days, please read on for a straightforward, black and white look at the top 5 things you need to know about legal, medical marijuana in Canada.

1) Medical Marijuana requires a prescription

A medical marijuana prescription, also known as a ‘medical document’, has to be written by a qualified doctor to legally obtain medical cannabis in Canada. This medical document has 3 important pieces of information, which patients should pay attention to:

The Expiry Date

Medical documents are valid as soon as they are written and signed by your doctor – which is on the day you have your appointment. As such, it is important to know how long your prescription is written for, so you are aware of the expiry date. After a prescription expires, legally you are no longer able to purchase or carry medical cannabis on you, unless you have a new prescription.

As an example, if a prescription is signed on February 22, 2017, and is written for 4 months (120 days), the prescription will expire on June 21, 2017. It is always recommended to visit your cannabis doctor at least 2 weeks before the prescription expires so you may be re-prescribed and continue to legally possess and purchase your medical cannabis.

Grams Per Day

Your doctor must indicate the number of grams of dried cannabis they have prescribed to you, per day, based on your medical condition and experience with cannabis, generally ranging between 0.5 – 5 grams per day.  Each month or each 30 day cycle, you are authorized to purchase 30 times your daily amount. This is called your ‘monthly allotment’. Patients can legally possess the lesser of  a 30-day supply or 150 grams.

For example, if you are prescribed 2 grams of cannabis per day, you are allowed to purchase and carry on you up to 60 grams of cannabis per month ( 2 grams x 30 Days = 60grams per month).

THC limit

THC is the psychoactive component in medical cannabis, or the compound that is responsible for patients feeling ‘high’. Generally speaking, the THC content in medical cannabis products can range from <1% – 30 %.  Doctors will prescribe a THC limit on the prescription which prevents patients from purchasing products that have too much THC, based on the patient’s condition and experience.  

For example, a prescription indicates a THC limit of 20%, so a patient would be unable to purchase strains (varieties) of cannabis that have a THC content higher than 20%. This piece of information is especially important when deciding which Licensed producer ( LP ) you choose to receive your medicine from, as you want to ensure that your LP offers products that accommodate your THC range/ limit.

2) Medical Marijuana can only be ordered and purchased from a Licensed Producer

Licensed Producers ( also referred to as ‘LP’s’ ) are legally authorized under Health Canada to grow, produce and sell medical marijuana to eligible Canadians with a prescription. You can think of an LP like a pharmacy. Every LP requires the original copy of your medical document by mail or secure fax. If your prescribing doctor works in a marijuana clinic, the clinic will usually take care of sending your prescription directly to the LP of your choice.

Right now, there are 41 different Licensed Producers  you can choose to receive your medicine from, and the list is growing. So, when deciding which LP to choose, it is important to take into consideration what type of cannabis you will be ordering ( dry or oils ), your THC limit, and your budget. Some LP’s offer compassionate pricing or discounts if you are on government assistance (ODSP, CPP Disability etc ), or are making less than a certain income amount per year. It is recommended to check with each LP directly or contact your marijuana clinic for more information.

3) Medical Marijuana can only be mailed

At this point in time, Health Canada only allows medical marijuana to be mailed directly to the patient, from the LP. When choosing an LP it is not essential to take into account where they are located as they will always ship out your medicine in 1-2 business days via Canada Post. Some LP’s offer the option to choose Purolator or other mail services, however, Canada Post is standard. Shipping is usually very fast and discreet – in a cardboard box with nothing to indicate  the contents. It’s important to note that the package does need to be signed for, so if nobody’s home at the time of delivery, they will leave you a sticker on your door letting you know where to pick up your medicine.

As such, there are no legal brick & mortar locations ( i.e no ‘stores’ ) where you can go in to purchase/ pick up your medical marijuana. This is where some confusion often lies as there is much chatter about dispensaries in the news. Dispensaries are storefronts which sell marijuana, however Health Canada is very clear when they state “ [ we ] do… not authorize the operation of retail storefronts, such as “compassion clubs” or “dispensaries”. They are illegal.” So, if you are currently getting your medicine from a storefront, or in any manner other than a LP, we urge you to call us at Apollo Cannabis Clinic so we can help you obtain cannabis legally.

4) Medical Marijuana is only available in Dry & Oil form

At this point in time, Health Canada only approves the sale of marijuana from LP’s in two forms: dry cannabis, and oral/edible cannabis oil. Dry cannabis usually comes in bud or flower form and is most often smoked or vaporized. Dry cannabis is ideal for patients who need short-acting but immediate symptom relief. When cannabis is heated, through smoking or vaporizing, the THC and CBD is activated and then inhaled. As such, these compounds enter your body immediately and begin working at their peak within 5-10 minutes. However, these effects generally only last for 1-4 hours, depending on the person.

Oral cannabis oil sold by LP’s are taken under the tongue and then swallowed. Because the THC and CBD are absorbed during digestion through this method, the effects peak in 2-4 hours, however this method provides longer lasting relief, generally about 6-12 hours. Patients may choose to use one method over the other, or combine the methods using oils a majority of the time and dry cannabis in a vaporizer for more acute symptom control, for example.

5) Medical Marijuana is not covered by Insurance

Medical Cannabis does not currently have a DIN number and as such, is not covered by OHIP or other government health insurance providers. However, many Licensed producers recognize the expense of marijuana and offer ‘Compassionate Pricing’. Patients who are on government social assistance, or who are making less than a certain income amount per year may be eligible.

Similarly, Patients who are on ODSP are also eligible to have a vaporizer fully covered, and veterans can be covered for up to 3 grams of cannabis per day. If you want to know if you are eligible for compassionate pricing, it is recommended to contact the LP directly, or call your marijuana clinic for more info.

And there you have it – the Top 5 things that you need to know about medical cannabis in Canada. We hope you found this article interesting and helpful, so please let us know in the comments, if you have any questions or what other topics you would like us to cover!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information on Medical Cannabis, Apollo’s Medical Cannabis Research and our clinic.

 

MMAR vs MMPR: Canadian Cannabis Regulation Simplified

When Health Canada announced in April, 2014 that they were replacing the MMAR with a new set of rules – the MMPR – to regulate the production and distribution of medical cannabis, many people were left asking “but how does this affect me?”

To simplify the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, lets break it down piece by piece.

What is the MMPR?

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) is a new set of rules and regulations for growing, buying and selling medical cannabis in Canada. With the new regulations, doctors now have the power to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients. Their medicine is purchased through a commercial grower (licensed producer or LP) that has been licensed by Health Canada.

How is it different from the MMAR?

The main difference between the MMAR and the new MMPR is that patients can no longer grow cannabis themselves or have it grown for them. By switching to commercial growers and a doctor prescribed system, patients now have more accessibility and choice.

It has also been said that the switch was the result of pressure from Health Canada to improve access to medical marijuana and cut down on legal home grow operations – which have been getting out of control over the years.

How do I sign up/purchase medical marijuana under the MMPR?

Patients no longer need to contact Health Canada. Instead, patients suffering with eligible conditions (chronic pain, anxiety disorders, PTSD) can obtain a referral from their doctor. If the patient doesn’t have a referral, they can also obtain a prescription providing they have sufficient medical records to support their condition.

Apollo Clinic has physicians on site, therefor we can assess your conditions, prescribe medical cannabis, and educate the patient all under one roof.

Moving forward, the big opportunity and focus will be on educating physicians about the truth surround medical cannabis, it’s scientific components, and the research that is currently underway.Since the power is now in the hands of your doctor, it’s important they have the correct information.

Source: http://www.leafscience.com/2014/04/01/canada-medical-marijuana-mmpr-guide-25-questions-answers/

Photo Credit: Tim & Selena Middleton | cc