Public Education Section
Cannabinoids are compounds derived from or based on chemicals found in the Cannabis sativa plant. These compounds have considerable potential for the treatment of a wide variety of symptoms and diseases, but the perceived association of cannabinoids with marijuana gives rise to a lot of misconceptions in this area.
- Ware, M. (2006). Medicinal Cannabis - Weeding fact from fiction. From microscope to stethescope, public lecture series. McGill University Health Centre.
- Ware, M. (2002). Clinical Trials in Canada: Cannabis for Chronic Pain. The second national clinical conference on cannabis therapeutics, sponsored by Patients out of time & Portland community college institute of health professionals.
The Nature of Things (Feb 4, 2010) "The Downside of High".
This documentary explores the connection between cannabis use in adolesence and psychiatric disorders. Three cases are presented and researchers interviewed. Viewing time approximately 1 hour.
View the documentary on The Nature of Things website by clicking here
HISTORY OF MEDICAL CANNABIS IN CANADA
Cannabis has been utilized for various reasons throughout history. The Cannabis sativa plant originated in the temperate climates of Asia, and has been spread around the world and cultivated for use in making rope. Between 1937 and 1971 a series of laws and conventions led to the ban of cannabis in North America and much of Europe.
Research into the psychoactive ingredients in cannabis led to the isolation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient, followed by continuing research into the properties of cannabinoids – compounds derived from or based on chemicals specific to the Cannabis sativa plant.
Health Canada released a research plan for the medical use of marijuana in 1999. In 2001, The Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) enabled Canadians with serious diseases access to medicinal marijuana. Therapeutic effects of cannabinoids are being continuously researched in Canada and internationally in order to gain a deeper understanding of their effects on the human body and uses in health and disease
Cannabinoids currently available in Canada
- Common name: dronabinol
- Synthetic THC analog
- Prescribed in 2.5, 5 and 10 mg capsules for oral administration
- Prescribed for the treatment of AIDS-related anorexia associated with weight loss.
- Common name: delta – 9 – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD)
- Standard marketing authorisation as adjunctive treatment for symptomatic relief of spasticity in adult patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have not responded adequately to other therapy and who demonstrate meaningful improvement during an initial trial of therapy.
- Marketing authorization with conditions: Sativex® may be useful as adjunctive treatment for the symptomatic relief of neuropathic pain in adult patients with MS.
- Marketing authorization with conditions: Sativex® may be useful as adjunctive analgesic treatment in adult patients with advanced cancer who experience moderate to severe pain during the highest tolerated dose of strong opioid therapy for persistent background pain.
- Guy, Geoffrey (2004). "From Plant to Prescription Medicine". 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference. Sponsored by Patients out of Time. Watch the Video.
- Spasticity in MS indication
- Herbal cannabis is available to MMAR authorized patients from Health Canada. The cannabis is cultivated under exclusive license to Prairie Plant Systems (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan).
- Common name: Cannabis sativa
- 12% THC (+/- 1.5%)
- Ground to 10mm particle size
- 15% humidity
- Cannabis is not prescribable since it has not received a Notice of Compliance form Health Canada. The conditions for which herbal cannabis is authorized are described in more detail below.
Applying for cannabinoid ACCESS
Strictly speaking, patients wishing to use herbal cannabis (marijuana) for medical purposes apply for a license to possess the drug. This is different from having a prescription or recommendation for a doctor. The patient is responsible for obtaining the required forms and for understanding what is involved. The application forms are obtained from Health Canada directly. While the forms may seem complicated and long initially, they are actually quite straightforward.
||What it is
||Who completes this form
||The statement identifying the applicant.
||To be completed by the patient.
|Form B 1
||Medical practitioners form for category 1 applicants.
||To be completed by the applicants practitioner.
|Form B 2
||Medical practitioners form for category 2 applicants.
||To be completed by the applicants practitioner.
Physicians: the Canadian Medical Protective Association recommends “that physicians who complete the medical declaration ask the applicant to sign a release from liability” and keep a copy for future use. For more information please visit the CMPA website.
Release form for medical practitioners (MMAR) - pdf
Governmental and Legal Regulations
Detailed information on medical marijuana regulations can be found through the following links. Canadian individuals suffering from serious illness, where conventional treatments are inappropriate or inadequate may be eligible for medical marijuana access as per the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, July 2001.