Medical marijuana: what’s available, what’s not?

Here’s what kind of cannabis is available by prescription in Canada

Shopping for medical marijuana for the first time can seem daunting, like when you find yourself in the fruit aisle at that exotic grocery market just staring at the strange, colourful objects. So many things you’ve never seen before. Where do you even start?

First of all, know that the Canadian government has your back. The only entities that can legally sell you cannabis in Canada are called licensed producers (LPs)—today there are 43 of them, and counting. You can rest assured that when you use any one of them, you’re going to get a legal product that’s been tested in a facility that is being closely monitored by the government. The licensing process is taken very seriously, as are security and best practices when it comes to production, packaging, shipping, etc.

Drug Medicine Plant Hemp Cannabis Weed Marijuana

The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) is in place to control cannabis production and processes, to ensure you get safe, effective, high-quality medical marijuana. There’s no doubt this system and its regulations will be changing as Canadian cannabis laws evolve over the next few years, but you can get a comprehensive drill down of its current layout here.

The LPs serving the Canadian market currently offer cannabis in two forms: bud (aka flower, aka herb) and oil, a concentrated form of cannabis that’s taken sublingually (under the tongue), swallowed or mixed with food.

As for strains, there are plenty to choose from. We have the Canadian LPs all listed out for you right here, and you can click through each and browse their genetic libraries, or check out our comprehensive community reviews. There are dozens of strains ranging from hybrids to sativas to indicas - between the 43 LPs, Lift’s nearly 17, 000 searchable cannabis reviews and your doctor’s advice, you’ll be able to find the strain or strains for you.

But what if smoking or vaping isn’t your style? There are a few LPs that offer cannabis flower in a decarboxylated (chemically altered to activate the psychoactive effects of THC) milled form that users can use to make their own tinctures, topicals, pills and suppositories with, but you can’t buy those forms outright. Not yet, anyway.

Also not yet on the legal market are edibles or cannabis-infused foods, but if you prefer to take your medicine with a spoonful of sugar (or chia seeds or goat cheese), making your own is easy (see our recipes section for cannabis cooking tips and inspiration).

In the meantime, while it may be tempting to just head down to your local dispensary and pick up a few cookies, a bag of herb, some hash and whatever other forms of marijuana they have available, be aware that dispensaries cannot help you fill out your legal cannabis script.

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