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5 things to know when buying medical cannabis

Overview

Published: 04/20/2015

by Marcus Johnson

5. While much of the evidence for cannabis as a medicine comes from anecdotal reports, there is now a growing body of scientific research demonstrating its efficacy.

This ancient plant is becoming a well-recognized treatment option for many conditions ranging from arthritis and neuropathic pain, to epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. But like all new things, there can be some confusion. Here are five important aspects to know about medical cannabis:

1. It is illegal to purchase marijuana from compassion clubs, and patients newly authorized to possess medical cannabis cannot grow it for themselves. The only legal source of medical cannabis is directly from a producer licensed by Health Canada.

2. Only your doctor can provide you with the authorization to buy medical cannabis from a licensed producer. Talk to your doctor and decide together if it's the appropriate treatment option.

3. Pick a licensed producer who puts patient safety first. While all producers have to comply with quality control standards and security requirements, there are some companies that go above and beyond. For example, the producer Cannimed Ltd says it is the first and only one in Canada to follow a guideline called Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), the same standards used by all pharmaceutical companies. This standardized approach includes a 281-point quality control process to ensure that patients can trust that their medicine will be the same every time. You can learn about GMP production at www.cannimed.ca.

4. Dosing of medical cannabis is very individualized. A general rule of thumb is to start low and go slow and work with your doctor on a dose and product that is right for you. Most people use between one and three grams per day, but start with only one quarter of a gram to get used to it.

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