Five reasons why you should apply for a medical marijuana license

If you live in Canada, there are many fringe benefits to having a license to smoke weed

By Ian Carey

2019-10-24

There are people reading this who could be prescribed cannabis by a doctor but don’t see the point.

Cannabis is usually not covered by employee health benefits. And cannabis is quite readily accessible. Mailing away for your medication also requires planning and your Licensed Producer may not always have your strain in stock.

But there are many benefits to having a medical marijuana license.

1. HELP BOOST RESEARCH

The first reason to get a license has very little to do with you.

I’m prescribed medicinal cannabis for obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is some evidence that cannabis provides benefits for OCD patients, but not a lot. But the more people there are registered as receiving medicinal cannabis for OCD, the more researchers may want to take a deeper look.

It’s this kind of research that will hopefully provide the evidence doctors need to feel comfortable prescribing cannabis over other medications for OCD, as well as other conditions.

2. SAVE MONEY

One of the main reasons to get your cannabis prescribed is financial.

Medicinal cannabis can be written off on your taxes. And many LPs absorb the tax on weed for their medicinal patients. Some have compassionate pricing programs for people earning less than a certain amount per year.

A common complaint is that medical cannabis is not covered by health benefits. Many harmful opioid medications are. But that’s changing.

Sun Life Financial announced last year that it will begin covering cannabis for some cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and HIV/AIDS patients. Those in palliative care will also be covered.

Cannabis is often covered under “health spending” with most insurance plans. That means you can get reimbursed if it was purchased from an LP with a prescription.

We are still just a year into legalization, so we’ll have to be patient for more dominos to fall for medical pot in the insurance sector. 

3. SMOKE BETTER WEED

One of the most important reasons to have a medical allocation for cannabis: the consistency of strains.

“If you are buying from a recreational storefront, you’ll be buying whatever that store was able to get,” says Dan Goulet of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana.

This point shouldn’t be overlooked by medicinal users looking to obtain the best treatment possible.

4. EDUCATE YOUR DOCTOR

Some doctors refuse to prescribe cannabis. This is exactly what happened to me. It’s a story I often hear from medicinal cannabis patients. Unless your doctor is already knowledgeable about cannabis, they’ll be hesitant to prescribe.

Your best option is to ask a medicinal cannabis clinic to refer you to a doctor who will prescribe cannabis. If you go this route, it’s important to keep your regular GP up to date on your treatments.

I speak with my GP about my cannabis use at every visit, even though she is not the one who prescribes it to me. Initially, I was hesitant to discuss it. But we’ve both learned a lot.

5. THE LEGAL BLESSINGS

Recreational users are limited to 30 grams. Medical users can possess five times that – up to a maximum of 150 grams. 

Now with legalization, any person can keep up to four cannabis plants in their household. A medicinal user can apply to Health Canada to produce their own medication beyond four plants. They can also hire someone to grow their medicine for them.

Perhaps someday cannabis will be treated like any other prescribed medication in Canada. The more people who officially register as patients, the faster we can get there.

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