Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Atlas and Medical Cannabis

Just click on one of the questions and get you know medical cannabis and Atlas a little better.

Still have questions? Feel free to Contact Atlas Growers today.

What is medical cannabis, and is it legal?

Medical cannabis is typically made up of the dried flowers, and sometimes the small leaves (commonly known as “sugar leaves”), that grow in and around the flowers of the Cannabis plant. The stems and larger “fan” leaves may also contain small levels of phytochemicals but none the less, are typically discarded or used for non-medicinal purposes. Contained within these leaves and flowers lay plant synthesized, biochemical compounds (phytochemicals) called cannabinoids and terpenes, which have been shown to have remarkable efficacy in treating a variety of medical illnesses and maladies. Scientists are only now beginning to understand that these unique terpenes and cannabinoids interact with the human brain, primarily in what is known as the endocannabinoid system and can, in some instances, play significant regulatory and therapeutic roles in many of the body’s functions, ranging from the heart and digestive, to endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Family practitioners and other types of certified healthcare experts across Canada can now prescribe cannabis to their patients for these therapeutic applications.

Health Canada oversees and regulates who can legally produce medical cannabis in Canada, and with your doctor’s prescription, you may purchase online directly from up to two licensed producers (LPs) at a time. Medical cannabis products can be shipped discreetly directly to your home, or if you prefer, directly to your doctor’s office.

In Canada, it is currently against the law to possess, sell, give away, or grow cannabis without permission from Health Canada. Those who have been given these licenses to produce the plant have undergone rigorous background checks and vetting. The legalization of cannabis for medical purposes aspires to achieve both health and safety objectives for Canadians by firstly providing a regulated, rigorously safety checked and quality controlled, properly dosage-controlled product to patients, and secondly to disrupt the illegal black-market trafficking of cannabis that has dominated the industry under prohibition.

Possession and use of medical cannabis must be authorized by a health professional as a medical treatment. If you think you might want to try medical cannabis, talk to your doctor.

How is Cannabis Consumed?

Cannabis can be:

  • Smoked
  • Inhaled through vaporizers (pyrolysis, similar to smoking but utilizing significantly lower temperatures to release cannabinoids and terpenes without the need for full on combustion)
  • consumed orally in the form of oils/tinctures, capsules or cooked into foods as edibles
  • topically applied to the skin in the form of a cream or dermal patch

What is THC and CBD?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main active chemicals produced by the cannabis plant that researchers believe have the most dedicated medicinal applications. However, there are many other phytochemicals produced by the plant that have yet to be adequately researched.

What do medical experts say about the science behind using medical cannabis to treat illnesses?

The medical use of cannabis has seen limited studies over the last few decades across the globe and is now beginning to ramp up at an exponential rate but experts still don’t agree on how it works, why it works or whether it’s safe for everyone to use. This being said, more and more health professionals are seeing positive results for some of their patient’s conditions and many feel that in some cases it may be potentially more beneficial than other drug related therapies that are known to have many harsh side effects.

Why do some medical experts recommend cannabis?

As more scientific studies begin to reveal, there are a growing number of physicians, researchers, medical experts and healthcare providers that believe cannabis provides their patients with significantly more pain relief when normal pain medicines don’t work or offers the same relief with far fewer side effects.

They believe it may help make a patient more at ease than other medications and in doing so may more quickly lead to a restored state of well-being. In people who have serious health conditions such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, it is believed to improve appetite, alleviate pain or nausea and reduce the painful side effects of chemotherapy.

They believe it can help relieve symptoms such as muscle stiffness (spasticity) in people who have multiple sclerosis and CBD is thought to be effective in drastically reducing seizures in patients with epilepsy.

They believe it may have a calming effect on patients who are having trouble with anxiety or are adjusting to new and difficult health related realities.

Other cannabinoids and terpenes that can be found within cannabis are also showing promise for a multitude of other therapeutic uses. To list a few:

Cannabinoids

  • CBN – Powerful sedative, appetite stimulant, pain relief
  • CBG – Mood-elevating, anti-depressant, pain relief
  • CBC – Mood-elevating, anti-depressant
  • THCV – Intensifies psychoactivity, energizes mood, boosts metabolism
  • Delta-9THC – Euphoriant, increased feelings of well-being, anti-depressant, pain relief and improved sleep

Terpenes

  • Caryophyllene – Powerful sedative, appetite stimulant, pain relief
  • Citronellol – Anti-anxiety
  • Linalool – Sedative, anti-anxiety
  • Myrcene – Sedative, pain relief, hypnotic effects when mixed with THC
  • Nerolidol – Sedative
  • Terpineol – Sedative, anti-depressant
  • Borneol – Increases absorption efficiency of many drugs in the human body
  • Eucalyptol – Uplifting and mentally stimulating
  • Limonene – Anti-depressant, anti-insomnia, anti-anxiety, appetite suppressant
  • Pinene – Energizing, sharpening (reduces short term memory loss)

*For citations http://steephill.com/pdf/leading-the-science-cannabis.pdf

When Should I Consider Medical Cannabis As A Potential Treatment For My Condition?

Medical cannabis is often considered an alternative to traditional treatments when other prescription drugs have been tried and failed or caused unwanted side effects. Cannabis may interact with other medications, so it is important to have an open, frank discussion with your doctor before coming to any conclusions on your own.

How Much Medical Cannabis Should I Take?

After receiving a medical document from your doctor, you should only take the required dosage indicated in your prescription. Start off slow, with a low dosage. Wait a minimum of two to three hours before taking a second dose and never take more than your doctor has prescribed.

What are the side effects of taking medical cannabis?

In some cases, or in higher doses, cannabis may cause intoxication, affect your short-term memory and impair judgment and coordination. Consequently, driving or operating heavy machinery under the influence is not recommended, similar to many other pharmaceutical drugs.

Medical cannabis may cause drowsiness or control mood like sedatives, anxiety drugs, and other antidepressants. Cannabis lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, so use caution if you take medications for these conditions. It also increases the chance of bleeding if you are on blood thinners. Taking too high of a dose can lead to tremors, panic attacks or rarely, temporary psychosis or psychotic episodes.

How long will the effects of taking medical cannabis last?

Cannabis can affect a person for up to several hours after its ingestion, so it may help to keep a log of how much you used, how you ingested it and how it made you feel so that your doctor can help treat you better on your next appointment. Don’t forget to keep track of any unwanted side effects.

Can I Get Addicted To Medical Cannabis?

Some people who regularly use cannabis may become dependent on it. Studies have shown that the addiction rate for cannabis is estimated to be about 9%. Always discuss the risks with your doctor. The risks of addiction are higher in people who started using cannabis at a younger age, use it very regularly or have mental health related issues.

People who have smoked cannabis frequently for a prolonged period and then stop may suffer minor withdrawal symptoms such as heightened anxiety, trouble sleeping and cannabis cravings.

What Is The Difference Between Cannabis Sativa And Cannabis Indica?

Indica and Sativa are terms typically used to differentiate the types of cultivars and or effects that can be found in the various strains of the cannabis plant.

There is not currently a strong consensus in the scientific community concerning the proper taxonomical classification or nomenclature on cannabis but the emerging data is beginning to show that cannabis is indeed a single species, Cannabis sativa Linnaeus. This can be further divided into sub-species, C. sativa sativa, C. sativa indica and C. sativa ruderalis.

Atlas Growers’ product classification is likely to change once we are able to discern a more scientifically appropriate method of naming, differentiating and labeling our product but initially we will be using the current industry standard for cannabis labeling and nomenclature whereby the cannabis cultivars will be divided into three classes:

  • High THC
  • High CBD
  • Balanced THC:CBD Ratio

These three categories will be further divided into species or cultivars consisting of the following:

  • Indica Strains which typically grow short and squat, have shorter flowering times than other cultivars and are generally considered to be more physically sedating, relaxing and better for pain regulation, muscle relaxation and anxiety reduction.
  • Sativa Strains which tend to grow taller and spindlier with long internodal spacing, narrow leaves and substantially longer flowering times. They are thought to provide more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects and can have the potential for strong anti-depressant effects as well.
  • Hybrid Strains fall somewhere in between the indica-sativa spectrum, depending on the traits they inherit from their parent strains and can produce traits from either indica or sativa strains in varying ratios.

This break down means that the different classes and species can exist in different combinations, such as a high THC sativa strain, a high CBD indica strain or a hybrid strain that has a chemical profile and characteristics in different ratios from both its indica and sativa parent genetics while offering a balanced ratio of THC:CBD.

Going forward and pending further scientific study, we would like to amend this system and introduce a new method of classification that is based on the specific chemical composition of each individual cannabis variety, also known as a “chemovar”. This process will involve the study of the chemical profile of each strain utilizing a piece of equipment called a mass spectrometer, which allows a researcher to accurately identify specific cannabinoids and terpenes and to determine in what ratios and amounts they are present in each sample. This in turn will allow us to introduce a more accurate system of labeling whereby the consumer can know the exact chemical composition of a strain, allowing for:

  • better symptom targeting
  • researchers and patients alike to better understand the synergistic ways these phytochemicals interact with each other
  • provide a product that can be more readily and accurately replicated and verified
  • a better understanding of the cannabis plant as a whole

This will also help Atlas to hone and perfect its genetic research and strain development, enabling us to deliver on our goal of providing the highest premier medical grade cannabis and cannabis products available not only to Canadians but to international patients as well.

What Is Synthetic Cannabis?

Synthetic cannabis is made from dried plant material that is treated with chemicals to produce ‘high’ effects which can sometimes be similar to the effects caused by cannabis. However, often times the effect is radically different. It is sold as incense under a variety of names such as K2 or Spice. The labels often claim that these products are safe and/or natural when in fact the active chemicals are created in a lab and could be very dangerous.

Health Canada does not recommend the use of these products due to the inaccurate ingredient labeling and potentially serious side effects.

People sometimes think or are incorrectly informed that using these types drugs will give them the same effects as when they use cannabis; however, these synthetics are different and the effects are hard to predict. This is largely due to the fact that the types and strengths of the chemicals used are often unknown and they are typically produced under conditions with limited safety guidelines and monitoring.