The Status of Medical Marijuana in Canada

Medical cannabis derives from the Cannabis Sativa species of the cannabis plant. Medical cannabis can take the form of either medical marijuana or medical hemp. Marijuana is distinguished from hemp by its higher tetrahydrocannabinol or THC content. THC is the cannabinoid known mostly for its psychoactive properties which create a high euphoric feeling. A hemp plant contains less than .3% THC while a marijuana plant contains between .5 to 30% THC.

The strain and quality of either a hemp or marijuana plant determine whether or not it can be used as medical cannabis. Besides THC, marijuana, and hemp can both have several healing cannabinoids and other healing properties. There are grades of hemp, however, only suitable for industrial purposes.Conditions helped by Medical Hemp or Medical Marijuana:

Medical cannabis in both forms can be smoked, consumed through edibles, used as a tincture or used topically in the form of a lotion or cream. Medical grades of both marijuana and hemp have been shown to relieve pain and inflammation. The following conditions or their symptoms may be alleviated by some form of medical cannabis:

• Aids
• Alzheimer’s
• Anxiety
• Asthma
• Autoimmune diseases
• Cancer
• Chronic pain
• Glaucoma
• IBS or Crohn’s Disease
• Migraines
• MS

How it works to heal and alleviate pain:

Cannabis works with the body’s Endocannabinoid System or ECS to heal and reduce pain and inflammation. The ECS is a series of endocannabinoids throughout the body. Endocannabinoids are small molecules composed of arachidonic acid, anandamide, and glycerol.

When the cannabis is ingested or applied topically, it targets the specific ailment and binds with the C1 or C2 receptors at a cellular level. The THC in marijuana binds primarily with the C1 receptors which are associated with pain, nausea, and spasmodic conditions. Hemp cannabinoids such as CBDs bind with the C2 receptors which are known to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Legal status of marijuana in Canada:

It is estimated over 400,000 Canadians use marijuana medicinally. However, only about 80,000 of those people have a prescription which is required by law. Though technically the law requires prescription holders to receive their medicinal marijuana through the mail MMPR or the Marijuana for Medical Purposes legislation allows up to 30,000 individuals to grow their own marijuana.

The marijuana dispensary is an area of some conflict of and controversy in Canada. Technically the dispensaries are illegal though those growing marijuana legally sell their surpluses to dispensaries in the metropolitan areas.

Numerous raids on dispensaries in Toronto in the summer of 2016 were based on complaints stating marijuana was sold without prescriptions. The raids forced the closure of some of the dispensaries and the subsequent court, and legal costs were deemed an unnecessary burden to the tax-payer.

The temporary setback of the dispensary raids possibly paved the way for total legalization nationwide in Canada. Already Canada has the distinction of being the first country to legalize medical marijuana. Promising legislation supported by Prime Minister Trudeau and Health Minister Philpott is set to be introduced in the spring of 2017. This bill would make marijuana completely legal putting any raids or controversy in the history books.

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