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If you’re using medical cannabis for the first time, it’s wise to discuss its use with the experts. Patient educators want to help you understand medical cannabis and how to use it as effectively as possible. They’ll discuss a number of different topics with you.

Download "Why More Patients Are Turning to Cannabis for Pain Relief" e-book

These five topics are some of the most common for patient educators to discuss with you during a consultation.

1. Cannabis Strains

There are a wide variety of medical cannabis plants currently available, and more are being created. An educator will take the time to talk about the different strains you may encounter. Depending on your condition, the strain most suited to your needs may be indica, sativa, or a hybrid of the two.

An educator will also talk to you about the cannabinoid concentrations in these strains. You’ll likely want to know most about THC and CBD concentrations. Terpenes and flavonoids are also important, as they affect the scent and taste of the medical cannabis.

2. Your Medical Document

Once you’ve received a recommendation for medical cannabis, your physician will provide a medical document called an authorization.

A medical cannabis patient educator will assist in explaining the importance of this document and the information it contains, such as dose and period of validity. This information will be helpful in determining what products can be ordered and how much will be needed.

3. Legality and Coverage

Though the climate of cannabis legality is changing in Canada, it is currently illegal to possess recreational cannabis. An educator will take the time to explain your rights to you. The educator will go over how many grams you can carry and how to manage your authorization while travelling.

While medical cannabis is legal in Canada, most private insurance companies do not provide coverage for it. Discussing the matter with your provider is a good place to start. Sun Life Financial has implemented a new policy, and it’s likely other insurance companies will follow.

A patient educator will be able to discuss options with you. If you have a limited income or received federal or provincial assistance in the previous year, you may qualify for compassion pricing. These programs assist in providing medical cannabis at a more affordable rate, although they do not fully cover the costs.

If you are a veteran of Canada’s armed forces, you may qualify for coverage through Veterans Affairs Canada.

4. How to Select a Licensed Producer

Medical cannabis is the only medication in Canada for which patients can directly correspond with licensed producers. Selecting the right one is important.

Currently, there are 111 licensed producers of medical cannabis is Canada, 59 of them in Ontario alone. A patient educator will have knowledge of the available products and which licensed producers to contact. They might go over which licensed producers are accepting new patients, which provide cannabis oils, or even which producers offer compassion pricing. This service is important to ensure you can find the products you need.

5. Dosages

Once the product is in your hands, it’s important to have clear instructions on how to use medical cannabis and the proper dosage. Most patient educators do not recommend smoking medical cannabis, and will advocate for other methods, such as cannabis oils. If you’re unfamiliar with these other methods of use, a patient educator can help.

If you’re new to medical cannabis, a patient educator can be one of the best resources you have. Talk to one or schedule a consultation through your local medical cannabis clinic today. A patient educator will help you on your journey to better health.


Dr. Michael Verbora

Michael earned an MBA from the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business in 2009 and an M.D. from Schulich School of Medicine at Western University in 2013, before entering a Family Practice residency at the University of Toronto. A member of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, Doctors for Responsible Access and the Canadian Pain Society, he has completed over 2,000 cannabinoid therapy consultations and has presented many talks in community and hospital settings while serving as student health physician at Seneca College and Medical Director, Canabo Medical Clinic.

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