Therapeutics Medical Applications
Legalization of marijuana continues to be a controversial topic worldwide. Some nations allow citizens to smoke marijuana for recreational purposes, some only allow it to be used for medicinal reasons, and some countries continue to outlaw it completely. In Canada, the growth and sale of marijuana is still regulated, but it is available for people who need to use the plant to treat certain medical issues. However, there are strict regulations on medical marijuana, so it is not extremely simple to get it.
The Legality of Marijuana in Canada
The history of marijuana in the nation of California dates back to 1923, when marijuana was added to the Confidential Restricted List in the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill. It remained mostly illegal for decades, though only 2 percent of all drug arrests in Canada were due to marijuana possession. In July of 2001, after decades of illegality, the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) allowed people to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, there were some concerns that the MMAR were too vague and allowed too many people to abuse marijuana. Therefore, a new set of regulations, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) was enacted in July of 2013. These regulations set up a controlled, commercial industry that provided regulated access to marijuana for people need to use it for medical reasons. These regulations remain active today, and they set up the basis for the legal medical cannabis industry in Canada. For a long time, Canadian laws about marijuana only allowed patients to use dried marijuana, but the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2015 that patients could also buy teas, oils, and edibles from suppliers.
The Regulations on Medical Marijuana in Canada
According to the MMPR, the only people who can produce medical cannabis are licensed providers who belong in the government’s database. These producers undergo a strict application process before they are allowed to provide marijuana to those with a prescription. If a person was previously authorized to possess and produce their own marijuana by the MMAR regulations, they are allowed to continue doing so under a grandfather clause. After a patient gets a medical cannabis prescription from their doctor, they can register with one of the licensed providers from the database and obtain marijuana products for their healthcare needs. At any time, patients can possess 20 times the amount recommended by their doctor, as long as the amount is under 150 grams. Patients who legally get marijuana in Canada typically cannot share their marijuana with others, grow their own marijuana, or make their own oil from marijuana.
How Canadians Get Marijuana
In order to get marijuana for medicinal purposes, a person must show one of the 33 licensed producers in Canada an original medical document by a healthcare practitioner and fill out a registration form. Once the patient is registered as a client at one of the licensed producers, they can have marijuana shipped directly to them from the dispensary. This helps patients to get quality-controlled marijuana even if they live far away from the nearest medical marijuana provider. If they come into contact with a law enforcement official, they can show proof that the marijuana is used for medical purposes. There are many different reasons that a patient may use marijuana, and no doctor has ever been prosecuted in court for filling out a prescription. In general, most marijuana use is prescribed for patients with epileptic seizures, patients dealing with pain from arthritis, a chronic illness, or multiple sclerosis, patients with a lack of appetite due to cancer, anorexia, or HIV/AIDS, and patients with spinal cord injuries. However, marijuana may also be prescribed for patients who have any other debilitating medical condition that might reasonably be aided by marijuana. This can include anything from Alzheimer’s disease to sexual dysfunction. Typically, doctors will start by prescribing their patients a low dosage and then gradually increase the amount of patients show signs of improvement. Read More …
Medical marijuana derives from the Cannabis Sativa species of the cannabis plant. Hemp and marijuana both come from the same species of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is distinguished from hemp by its higher content of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the cannabinoid which provides the psychoactive properties responsible for the “stoned” feeling. A marijuana plant has .5 to 30% THC whereas a hemp plant has less than .3%.
Medical Marijuana Usage in Canada:
Research shows that marijuana may alleviate inflammation and pain and relieve the symptoms and even slow the progression of autoimmune disorders, arthritis, cancer, MS, and others. Estimates are that over 420.000 Canadians use marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, only about 80,000 of those individuals have prescriptions from qualified physicians.
Current Laws Involving Marijuana:
Medical marijuana is legal throughout Canada with a prescription. Until recently the Marijuana for Medical Purposes law or MMPR mandated the 80,000 prescription holders must receive their medicine by mail order. However, the passage of Medical Marijuana Access Regulation or MMAR allows about 30,000 of the patients to grow their marijuana. Of course, many of these individuals do not have the land or physical capability of growing the plants, so they are allowed to have them produced by other persons. Typically these individuals grow far more from the plants allowed than needed by the patient. The surplus of the crop is often sold to dispensaries.
The dispensary has provided individuals a place where they can compare products and ask questions. There are hundreds of cannabis dispensaries in the metropolitan areas of Canada with dozens more planned.
Opponents of these establishments argue they are not legal, do not always follow the city’s licensure agreements, and are operating for the purpose of making a profit and not for the good of the patient.
On June 23, 2016, four dispensaries were raided in Toronto, resulting in 23 people facing charges, over $289,000 worth of marijuana confiscated and more than $29,000 in profits recovered.
Although the dispensaries are technically illegal, the police are typically only called in when there are several of complaints. The raids took place after a CBS reporter was easily able to obtain marijuana without a prescription.
The raids forced other dispensaries to shut their doors leaving many patients to delay their treatments and look elsewhere. There are those who claim the raids, arrests and court time are a huge waste of tax-payers money. The date to review the case has been delayed until October of 2016.
Future of Legalization:
Quite possibly these types of raids may find their place in history books similarly to that of Prohibition in the United States. Legislation to outright legalize marijuana is set to be introduced in the spring of 2017 and has the approval of both Prime Minister Trudeau and Health Minister Philpott.
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Medical marijuana contains the leaves, buds, and flowers of the hemp or cannabis plant. While the plant is not approved for use federally in the US, several states have approved its use for some people with diseases that have symptoms such as:
• Muscle aches and stiffness.
• Muscle spasms.
• To increase appetite.
• To ease cancer symptoms.
• AIDs symptom relief.
• Multiple Sclerosis symptoms.
People who use marijuana have doctor diagnoses and obtain state licenses to get their medical marijuana. These cards or permits are issued only to people who are diagnosed with certain conditions, however. If you need to obtain more information about using marijuana for medical purposes, contact your state health department for more information.
Does Marijuana Work for Medical Treatment?
As of this time, marijuana has not been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. There are pros and cons to using medical marijuana, even in states where it is legalized for medical use. The cons of medically used marijuana are:
• It is approved by the FDA
• Marijuana impairs memory. It also impairs coordination and judgment. Therefore, do not use marijuana if you need to operate heavy equipment, drive or have important decisions to make.
• The smoke from marijuana is harmful to your lungs.
• Legal medications may work just as well or better than marijuana to treat your symptoms and won’t risk you losing your freedom.
The pros of using marijuana for treating symptoms or diseases, as determined by medical experts, include:
• Relieves pain when prescribed medications don’t work or have side effects that are not wanted.
• Marijuana improves appetite in those with nausea symptoms. Examples of people who could benefit from marijuana use are those receiving cancer treatment and those with AIDs.
• People with MS (multiple sclerosis) use marijuana to combat the pain and stiffness associated with that disease.
Using Medical Marijuana
Many people smoke marijuana, but that is not the only way for the plant material to enter your system. Cannabis cooked as an ingredient in food remains a way to consume the substance without smoking. It also brews into a tea that some drink. A cannabis dispensary can offer many suggestions on ways to use their primary product.
Effects of Marijuana
Marijuana has long-lasting effects. It might start working quickly or take a while to reach your nervous system. While the benefits of using are many, there are some side effects to using marijuana, including:
• Dry mouth.
• Paranoid thoughts.
• Redness of the eyes.
• Increased heart rate.
• Nausea and vomiting.
• It may be habit forming.
Doctors, dispensary providers, the general public and legal entities need to work together to make the best decisions on the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Read More …
Medical marijuana requires a prescription and is a strain of marijuana used to treat the pain and inflammation of many diseases and disorders including, cancer, arthritis, auto-immune disorders and more. Marijuana derives from the Cannabis Sativa plant, the same species of which hemp derives. There are many differences between hemp and marijuana, but the most notable is that hemp as less than .3% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol whereas marijuana has between .5 and 30% depending on the strain. THC is the cannabinoid which gives marijuana its psychoactive qualities or the euphoric high.
Medical cannabis, both hemp and marijuana work with the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS on a cellular level signaling C1 and C2 receptors to turn off the acid causing pain and inflammation.
Medical marijuana is legal throughout Canada but must be obtained with a prescription. It is estimated there are over 420,000 Canadians using medical marijuana. There are many qualified medical marijuana doctors. Though cannabis treatment is an emerging and important field of medicine, some physicians are hesitant to add marijuana treatment to their practice because of the ongoing legal controversies. Medical marijuana doctors have stringent guidelines limiting their ability to treat patients.
One such provision is the requirement that other traditional treatments must fail first. Frustration is present since cannabis is often the preferred way to address many conditions because of its relatively low incidents of adverse side- effects when to compared to prescription drugs.
Much of the legal controversy surrounding marijuana lies with the issue of the dispensary. There are hundreds of cannabis dispensaries throughout Canada with dozens more planned, especially in the major metropolitan areas such as Toronto.
Dispensaries are a favorable option for patients when compared to online shopping. The dispensaries are licensed by the city and are usually monitored for quality and legal compliance. It gives a patient the opportunity to ask questions face to face and see the product before purchasing.
Opponents of the dispensaries argue that they are technically illegal. The established law, MMPR allows confirmed patients, of which there are about 80,000 to obtain their product by mail. Recently a law (MMAR) was passed allowing about 30,000 of these patients to grow their own medical marijuana. Many of those patients do not have the space or physical ability to cultivate the plants. The proxy growers can produce much more product than needed, and the surplus ends up at the dispensaries.
With more research and scientific evidence continuously presented the legal argument may eventually come to an end. Health Minister Jane Philpott has announced legislation to legalize marijuana outright will be introduced in the spring of 2017. In addition to the research, the bill will be supported by a regulation and safety task force as well as heartfelt testimony from patients. Read More …
Marijuana trafficking in Canada produces billions of dollars in criminal revenue every year. A combination of factors such as advanced indoor cultivation, relaxed social stigmas and uncertain enforcement of laws are all contributing to an environment where marijuana trafficking is increasing in popularity. This is following a trend occurring across most of North America. There are several specific reasons why Canada is seeing a rise in marijuana trafficking.
Increased Demand And Profit
One of the realities is that attitudes towards marijuana have been slowly changing over the last two decades. A steadily increasing number of students and adults now perceive marijuana as a harmless recreational drug that is often compared to alcohol. This is driving demand in Canada. The country remains one of the fastest growing markets in the world for marijuana. The high demand translates into profits for individuals and organizations willing to risk prosecution for trafficking. Demand is the main reason that trafficking marijuana has become popular in the country.
Decriminalization efforts have contributed in some ways to the popularity of trafficking marijuana in Canada. The debate about decriminalization started in the 1980s. There are still strong lobbies for decriminalization in the country. This has provided a sense of legitimacy to marijuana use that is contributing to demand. Individuals who use the substance no longer consider possession a serious offense. This attitude is combining with indoor cultivation in order to create a class of traffickers who are bolder and less afraid of prosecution.
The medical use of marijuana has started to blur the line between criminal traffickers and people who have a legitimate need to possess or produce the drug. Medical dispensaries are illegal. This has not stopped their appearance in certain cities. Additionally, some confusion occurs because of the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) that allows a person to possess and produce the drug when given permission by a medical professional. Traffickers sometimes perceive the growing and distribution of medical marijuana to be within the law even through it is not.
Free Trade Agreements
A major reason that trafficking has increased in Canada is the result of the free trade agreements that North American countries signed in 1994. These agreements were specifically designed to promote mutual economic prosperity by allowing neighboring countries to exchange goods more freely. Part of this easy trade infrastructure meant that it become far easier to move marijuana between countries. The flow of marijuana from Mexico to the United States and then into Canada has increased since free trade regulations were first implemented.
New efforts are being enacted to try to reduce the amount of marijuana trafficking occurring in Canada. Although there have long been minimum sentences for trafficking, small changes to the laws enacted at the end of 2012 will make it more difficult for criminals to escape with minimum sentences. The new guidelines are untested and might arrive in the Supreme Court of Canada once a case is prosecuted. Anyone caught trafficking marijuana in Canada with more than three kilograms of the substance can be subject to a life sentence. The effects of the new regulations as well as federal attitudes towards increased enforcement are yet to be determined.
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