New Patient Guide

Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada for over a decade. Over the past 10 years, medical marijuana has become increasingly recognized for what it truly is: medicine with an incredible healing power. From pain reduction to cell recovery and much more, cannabis has proven to help people of all ages suffering from all kinds of pains, diseases and conditions. Although, like any medicine or medical treatment, it may not be appropriate for everyone.

This resource will help you understand common terminology and how and why medical cannabis works. We will conclude with a brief discussion of who is eligible and how to access medical marijuana in Canada under Health Canada’s program (ACMPR). – Medical Marijuana Authority

Topic 1 Common Cannabis Terms

When learning about cannabis, whether it be about the plant’s benefits or comparing two strains, it is important that you understand certain key terms. If you are already familiar with these terms, skip to the next section: how and why medical cannabis works.

This short list summarizes the must-know keywords that will guarantee a smooth and powerful learning experience:


Pure Indica cannabis strain types induce relaxation, sedation, and pain reduction effect. Its appearance is characterized by broader leaves, dense buds and a darker green colour.


Pure Sativa strains bring about a boost in energy, appetite while reducing pain, fatigue, stress and depression. Its appearance is characterized by narrower leaves, fluffy buds and a lighter shade of green.


Chemical compounds produced by marijuana plants, which alleviate a wide range of symptoms, including swelling (inflammation), nausea, pain and anxiety. Cannabinoids communicate with the body and mind in different ways, leading to various effects. There are at least 113 identified cannabinoids active in marijuana, the most common ones are THC and CBD.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Known as the psychotropic cannabinoid (affects mental state), this compound exhibits psychoactive effects leading to alterations in behaviour, consciousness, perception and mood.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

This compound is not psychoactive and is recognized to have a range of medical uses from treating epilepsy amongst children to reducing inflammation, reliving pain and preventing neurodegeneration (preserve brain functions).

Topic 2 Other Common Terms

Endocannabinoid System (ECS):

The human body is composed of various systems. Some examples of the common ones you are probably aware of are the circulatory system, digestive system, respiratory system, nervous system, etc. Another important system of the body is the endocannabinoid system. This system is in charge of a number of very important physiological processes such as memory, mood, pain sensation, and appetite.


Fragrance oils (aroma or aromatic oils), composed of a mixture of essential oils, synthetic aroma and aromatic resins, which give cannabis its unique smells and tastes. Terpene composition vary from strain to strain.

Licensed Producer (LP):

Refers to the Health Canada-licensed medical marijuana producers of dried cannabis, cannabis oils, capsules, plants and seeds. There are currently over 50 licensed LP’s.

Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR):

Health Canada’s current medical marijuana program, which allows Canadians to access medical cannabis with the support of a medical practitioners. The regulations succeeded the MMPR as of August 24, 2016.

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation (MMPR):

The former Health Canada program, which succeeded the MMAR in June 2013, allowed Canadians authorized by their physicians to produce their own cannabis, have grown on their behalf or purchase from Health Canada supply. The supply came from one licensed producer at the time.

Marihuana Medical Access Regulation (MMAR):

This was the first official program launched by the Canadian federal government in 2001 following the decision in R. vs. Parker in 2000, where it was judged unconstitutional to block access to medical cannabis.

Topic 3 How and Why Does Marijuana Work?

When consuming cannabis, the compounds produced by the plant commonly referred to as cannabinoids, serve as messengers between the human brain and the other parts of the body through receptors and neurons. These compounds are similar to those naturally produced by your body, which may be in deficit depending on your condition.

By consuming cannabis, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD will be generated, which help relieve your symptoms by supplying the endocannabinoids that your body normally produces on its own, and supports your body’s endocannabinoid system all together.

THC is the chemical found in medical marijuana that causes psycho-active effects. To put it simply, it is what makes the person feel “high.” It has been shown from anecdotal evidence and substantial scientific research that THC is effective in helping patients suffering from pain, inflammation, and insomnia, decreasing the vomiting and feeling of nausea resulting from chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in patients with AIDS or HIV, and relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

On the other hand, studies indicate that CBD is very promising in alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy, including Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy that affects children, mainly infants. In addition, CBD has had great success in helping patients that suffer from nausea, pain, inflammation, ischemia, anxiety, panic attacks, and hereditary brain disorders. It also makes the “high” feeling caused by THC easier to endure, and limits the possibility of patients experiencing anxiety, panic, or paranoia due to the THC.

Topic 4 Are you Eligible?

Health Canada’s medical marijuana program is available to Canadians of all ages, province and territories.

Under the ACMPR, Health Canada states that in order to be eligible, a Canadian must be suffering from:

  1. Severe and/or persistent pain or muscle spasms (Category 1) from any of the following:
    1. Arthritis
    2. HIV/AIDS
    3. Cancer
    4. Anorexia
    5. Spinal cord diseases or injuries
    6. Seizures
    7. Multiple sclerosis
  2. Any debilitating symptom from a medical condition not included in Category 1 (Category 2)

For a comprehensive list of the eligible symptoms and condition currently recognized by the medical community for which medical cannabis can be prescribed see this useful resource.

Topic 5 How to get access? is both an online education center and virtual clinic serving Canadians from coast to coast. Having simplified the application process and imbedded technology throughout the entire process, you can now access cannabis without ever leaving your house and in case you didn’t know, you can even order your medicine online.

Similarly to other prescription drugs, one must be assessed by a physician and granted a prescription. Following the steps below could get you your Health Canada medical marijuana card in 2 to 4 days:

  1. Submit medical form online and select a licensed producer*
  2. Meet with one of our doctors online from anywhere
  3. Get approved, start shopping!

*You may request for your prescription to be split among 2 or more producers

Accessing the Canadian medical marijuana program (ACMPR) is in fact a lot easier than most think if you know what you’re doing. Family doctors, traditional clinics and hospitals are usually reluctant or simply refuse to write medical cannabis prescriptions, some just don’t know what to do or where to go.

Visit a medical marijuana speciality clinics, education center or find one online, like These clinics are now found in every major Canadian city and have registered over 10,000 prospective patients just like yourself in June 2017 alone.

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