Why Medical Registration Remains Important
So, now that recreational cannabis is legal in Canada, do you still need to jump through all the same hoops to get your medical marijuana?
Theoretically, no, and the cannabis available for recreational use is fine for anyone who wants to try it for medical purposes without going through the whole nine yards. If you discover products containing THC help you to manage your condition, however, you’re better off becoming a licensed user, for several reasons.
Here’s why medical cannabis vs. recreational still has advantages for users.
The Quantity Conundrum
As of November 2019, adults over 19 years are allowed to buy (or be in possession of) no more than 30 grams of cannabis. For many medical users, this is less than a day’s requirements, which means they will constantly be running to the dispensary or store to purchase their next dose. That’s hardly the way someone with chronic medical conditions wants to spend their time! A licensed medical user, however, is allowed to carry 30 days’ supply up to a total of 150 grams. Whether your usage requires 5 grams a day or 35, this is significantly more convenient.
The Cost Component
When anything goes recreational the cost goes up, and cannabis is no exception. While medical marijuana can be purchased for an average price of $6 to $8 a gram, recreational retails at around $10 a gram. This makes a 20-40% difference to your cost. Even for those lucky enough to have health insurance that pays for their medication, this can be a consideration.
The Growers’ Position
For those who grow their own cannabis, the differences between medical marijuana vs. recreational are even more obvious. Where recreational users are allowed to grow a maximum of 4 plants per household. Medical users, however, can grow 5 plants indoors or 2 plants outdoors per gram of their prescription. A hypothetical user with a 35-gram prescription, therefore, can grow up to 175 plants indoors.
There are additional benefits to be gained by using the medical marijuana system, even though it seems like a mission to go through the registration process. The abovementioned insurance is one, with many of the Canadian insurers now covering some cannabis costs, provided it is prescribed for specific conditions and symptoms where the “evidence is clear” that medical cannabis has enough value to outweigh risks.
Another benefit is that when buying recreational marijuana, unless you know what you’re doing you could end up with the wrong product for your situation. Buying medical cannabis from a licensed producer (LP) gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and many of these LPs are exceptionally knowledgeable.
Medical cannabis products overall vary quite substantially from those designed for recreational purposes. Medicinal items usually have higher concentrations of CBD, for example, which doesn’t make you high, and a lower quantity of the THC that does.
Health Canada’s Take
According to a September statement, Health Canada intends to continue operating the current medical marijuana system for the next five years, after which it will review the situation. The government body has also rubber-stamped the concerns of the Canadian Medical Association over the risks of using cannabis unsupervised, as well as those associated with dosage and potential interactions with other medications.
These are all very good reasons why users should continue to register their requirements for medical marijuana vs. recreational, and avoid “going it alone” with whatever they can purchase for recreational use.
Please contact us for more information on how to become a licensed medical marijuana user.