Myth:  Marijuana is an illegal street drug.

Fact:  If your doctor has authorized you to purchase medical cannabis, and as long as that cannabis is purchased through a Licensed Producer (LP), it is 100% legal.

Myth:  All marijuana is the same.  It doesn’t matter where you get it.

Fact:  Medical cannabis sold by LPs is grown in highly-controlled conditions.  Pharmaceutical-grade production standards are followed. This means that products pass through 281 points of quality control before being released to patients.  Studies have shown that cannabis purchased from the street or from dispensaries may contain heavy metals, pesticides, mould and other contaminants.

Myth:  The only reason people use cannabis is to get stoned.

Fact:  Many people see the “high” that comes with some medical cannabis as an unwanted side effect.  It is important to know the difference between THC and CBD.  THC is responsible for the high, meaning products with a higher percentage of THC may cause the feeling of being “high”.   Products with a low percentage of THC and a higher percentage of CBD will have almost no such effect.

Myth:  To use medical cannabis, I will have to smoke it.

Fact:  For dried cannabis, vaporization is the optimal delivery method.  Unlike smoking, vaporization is achieved by heating the cannabis to a temperature that vaporizes, but does not burn the plant matter.  This virtually eliminates the health risks associated with smoking.  For those who prefer not to inhale cannabis vapor, cannabis oils let patients ingest their medicine.  Cannabis oils are made up of cannabinoids which are removed from the cannabis plant and then infused into edible oil.

Myth:  Once I have a prescription, I can legally buy medical marijuana anywhere.

Fact:  When your doctor completes your medical document, you can then register with a LP.  You can order from that licensed producer only.  It is possible to register with more than one LP at a time, but your doctor must complete a separate medical document for each different LP.  Marijuana bought from the street or from a dispensary is illegal even if you are already registered with a licensed producer.

Myth:  If my boss finds out I use medical cannabis, I will be fired.

Fact:  Medical cannabis is a new concept for many employers and they may not have policies in place to address it specifically.  However, medical cannabis is a legal medication so one should feel confident discussing it with your employer.  Many patients find medical cannabis improves their ability to work because it can help alleviate symptoms.  The likelihood of your prescription being covered by insurance will increase if your employer believes medical cannabis is helping to increase your productivity.

Myth:  My cannabis is medicine so I can drive while I am on it, no problem.

Fact:  As a medical cannabis patient you need to be very careful you are not intoxicated when operating vehicles or other heavy machinery.  Even though your prescription is completely legal, you can be charged for driving under the influence and more importantly it can be dangerous.  The College of Family Physicians of Canada gives the following advice:  Patients taking dried cannabis should be advised not to drive for at least 4 hours after inhalation and 6 hours after oral ingestion.  If the patient experiences euphoria, the College suggests waiting 8 hours.

Myth: I can take my medical cannabis with me anywhere.

Fact:  As long as you are travelling within Canada you can take your medical cannabis with you.  When travelling, keep your cannabis in its original container and take all your paperwork with you.  If you are travelling by plane, pack your medical cannabis in your carry-on luggage.  Airlines and airports have their own rules to follow so call both in preparation for your trip.  It is always best to arrive at the airport early in case your information needs to be verified.  This is a routine procedure.  If you are crossing any border by car, plane or boat, leave your cannabis and any cannabis related products at home.  Many countries have a “zero-tolerance” policy.  Do not take the risk.

Myth:  Cannabis cures cancer.

Fact:  Medical cannabis can ease many of the symptoms cancer patients’ experience, including pain and side effects from chemotherapy.  However, it should not be used as a substitute for conventional cancer treatments.  Consult your doctor before making changes to your medical therapy.  Some studies have suggested that THC and CBD can help slow tumour growth, but the evidence is very limited.

 

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