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 by Apollo’s healthcare practitioner.

What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is marijuana 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 which is the flowers/buds of the plant, cannabis oil, capsules or softgels, edibles, beverages, cartridges, pre-rolls, and topicals. All of these products are produced and lab tested 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 when treating medical conditions and symptoms.

CBD has neuroprotective, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to relieve pain and does not make people feel “high” or have any euphoric feelings. 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 or the “high” of cannabis. Patients often report that strains containing levels of THC also help with sleep, depression, PTSD, pain, and more.

Products that are available come in a variety of strains, strengths, and doses, allowing patients to be in control of what they’re using. Some products are CBD only, while some are a 1:1 balance of CBD and THC, and others are just THC. Make sure to know what you’re using before consuming any cannabis products.

How Does Medical Cannabis Work?

Ingesting and inhaling cannabis react differently in your body and you should always remember to start low and go slow. 

 When cannabis is heated in a vaporizer, cartridge, or smoked (not recommended), the marijuana will release THC and/or CBD into the body, which can be felt in as little as 2 minutes, lasting up to 12 hours.

If you are ingesting medical cannabis in a softgel capsule, oil, or edible the effects can be felt within 30 minutes, up to 4 hours, and lasting up to 24 hours.

 When these compounds enter the body, they act to prevent the nerve signals coming from the site of pain from being understood by the brain.

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. Our goal as a clinic is never to have a patient feel high or uncomfortable, but to use cannabis to find symptom relief, which can often be achieved with small amounts of THC in conjunction with CBD. 

Many patients choose to use strains that are very low in THC, and rich in the compound CBD during the day to manage their symptoms, without feeling ‘high’. Based on your needs, we will create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your concerns and treatment goals to ensure maximum relief and improved quality of life.

How do I Purchase my Medical Cannabis in Canada?

After you consult with an Apollo healthcare practitioner, you meet with an Apollo educator who will work with you to find the best products and strains for you. We will send your prescription to an approved Health Canada Licensed Producer of your choosing where you will register and/or create an account. We can walk you through this. Once your account is approved and ready to go, you will receive an email or call that you can now fill your prescription online or by phone. If you need any help, our team is here to support you.  

You will be required to pay for your medical cannabis using any major credit card, visa-debit, or prepaid card. Some LPs offer direct bill payments through the bank. The licensed producers are not permitted to accept payment by any other method (e.g. debit card, cash, cheque, money order).

Once the payment has been processed, you’ll receive an email you know the day your prescription will be shipped with tracking provided. Your medication will be delivered to your door by courier or Canada Post.

What is The Price Range of Medical Marijuana?

The price of medical marijuana depends on the strain of cannabis and the dosage you are prescribed. Online medical cannabis offered by licensed producers range in price from $2.50/gram to $15.00/gram. You’re in control of what you order and quantity as you can purchase up to 30 days’ worth of medical cannabis at one time. Certain Licensed Producers also offer compassionate pricing to those that qualify which can include seniors, low income individuals, and those living with a disability.

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, that’s OK. Simply give us a call or fill out this form and we’ll book you in. We will collect your medical history prior to seeing a healthcare practitioner to ensure medical cannabis is right for you. 

You can easily print out a referral form here to bring to your physician or you can self-refer and let your educator know you wish to keep your doctor in your circle of care and we’ll send notes over. We’re here to help you feel comfortable, safe, and secure in every step of your journey. 

Do I Have to Purchase The Maximum Amount on my Prescription?

No. Patients are in control of what they purchase and can order once a month or more, with a maximum monthly order adding up to one month’s supply. For example, if a patient is prescribed 1 gram / day (30g /month)then they can choose to purchase only 15 grams in the beginning of the month then an additional 10g at the end (25g total). The remaining 5 grams does not carry over into the next month. In the following month, patients can order again up to 30 grams at once or broken into a few orders.

Is Medical Cannabis Covered by Insurance?

In most cases no, but many insurance companies are beginning to include it as an option for companies to include in their employee benefits. Currently, most health insurance companies are allowing medical cannabis to be claimed under one’s HealthCare Spending Account (HCSA/HSA) as a reimbursable expense. You can read more here about medical cannabis and insurance in Canada, including how to claim it under your HCSA. Please always check with your insurer/workplace to ensure medical cannabis is covered under your HCSA. As continual research comes out, we look to see more insurance companies start to offer coverage.

Rules And Regulations For Purchasing Medical Cannabis

According to Health Canada, you can only place can fill your prescription for and buy up to 30 days’ worth of cannabis at a given time. For example, if your prescription is 2 grams per day, the most that you can buy at a time is 60 grams of cannabis (2g x 30 days = 60g). Your prescription resets every month so you’ll have access to 60g each month. Please note that you can only purchase more medication within a 30 day period if you are written a prescription for a greater dose. If you need more medication, please set up a follow-up today or call the clinic for help.

You are legally allowed to carry with you the maximum amount of cannabis that you are permitted to buy for 30 days. In this example, 60 grams would be your possession limit.

You are legally allowed to carry with you the maximum amount of cannabis that you are permitted to buy for 30 days (in the example above this would be 30 grams).

There are many intricacies to purchasing medical cannabis, many of which are regulated by Health Canada. Apollo Applied Research Inc. will help to manage these intricacies for you. Should you have any questions about this process, you should contact your licensed producer or Apollo Applied Research Inc. directly.

General Licensing Rules

Please remember to always keep your medicine in the bottle it came in. If you plan to carry it with you, you should also have one of the following on you as proof of being a medical patient: 

  • A copy of your registration paperwork
  • A prescription label with your information from your licensed producer
  • An invoice from your licensed producer

Your license/prescription has an expiration date, meaning you are not legally allowed to carry medical cannabis after that date unless you have seen a doctor and received a new prescription.

You are not legally allowed to leave the country with medical cannabis, even if you are traveling to places where cannabis is legal.

You can travel/fly with medical cannabis within Canada, but please take all necessary precautions to prevent and issues by ensuring that you carry the cannabis in the original bottle you received it in and place it in your carryon, like all other medications.

Is it a Pill?

Medical cannabis patients now have multiple options for administering their medicine:

Dried Cannabis: which should be vaporized and inhaled

Cannabis Oils: which are dosed with a syringe and swallowed

CannabisCapsules (softgels): which are swallowed like a regular pill

Edibles: Infused foods and confectioneries that are processed safely by the liver, similar to oil and capsules

Each method can affect the body differently and an Apollo patient educator will work with you to choose a method or combination of methods best for you and your condition. Cannabis pills (or softgels) are a discreet and accurate way for patients to take their medication.

Apollo’s Recommended Mode of Administration: Vaporization

Health Canada and Apollo Cannabis Clinics. recommend that medical cannabis be administered by vaporization over smoking. 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, than 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 may be just as unhealthy as smoking cannabis cigarettes.

What Should You Look For When Buying a Vaporizer?

Multiple Temperature Settings:

Regardless of which vaporizer you purchase, it should have multiple temperature settings. The medicinal properties in cannabis are activated through the process of heating, so you must have control over the temperature setting. The key is to heat cannabis as much as possible without burning. Your vaporizer should have temperature settings for 200°C or higher.

Portability/Discreteness:

You may be administering medical cannabis multiple times throughout the day (on average 3 times a day) in order to achieve continuous pain relief. Therefore, at times when you are out in public and need to vaporize, it may be easier to medicate if the device is easy to carry, light, and discreet.

How Much Should I Vaporize?

Your physician will decide the total amount of medical cannabis you should use each day, for example, 3 grams per day). This amount is a maximum and may not be used every day as it depends on how you feel and when you need it. 

It is not typically recommended for a patient to consume the entirety of their prescription at one time. In order to achieve continuous pain relief, it is recommended that you divide your daily dose into smaller separate doses, taken periodically during the day. For example, if you are prescribed a total daily dose of 1 gram per day, you may choose to use 0.3 grams in the morning, 0.3 grams in the afternoon, and 0.4 grams in the evening.

If there is a time during the day that your pain is far worse than other times, more medication can be used during those painful times. If you are prescribed a total daily dose of 1 gram per day, and your pain is the worse in the morning, you may choose to use 0.4 grams in the morning, 0.3 grams in the afternoon, and 0.3 grams in the evening.

Changes to the way you split your total daily dose of medication is completely up to you. We recommend that if you are changing your medication dosage, you should consult with an expert at Apollo Cannabis Clinics and/or your physician.

A major advantage of this medication is that you have control over when and how much to administer and you can make your dosing schedule match to fit your lifestyle. It is encouraged to determine a dosing schedule that works best for you to maximize your pain relief.

Where Can I Buy a Vaporizer?

You can purchase a vaporizer directly from Apollo Cannabis Clinics. Not only do we sell many vaporizers, but our patient educators have the knowledge and expertise to assist you in recommending a vaporizer tailored to your specific wants and needs.

We offer shipping nationwide across Canada. Please contact us if you have any questions about a vaporizer, or would like to make a purchase.

We are always here to help by email at support@apolloresearch.ca or by phone toll-free at 1-877-560-9195.

Find out if medical cannabis is right for you.

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