Licensed cannabis producers will now begin releasing an expanded range of cannabis oils and extract products to medical patients.
In June, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled medical cannabis to be legal in all forms after Owen Smith, a baker for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, was found with more than 200 cookies and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana.
In July, Health Canada began approving applications from its licensed producers to also create and sell cannabis oils and derivatives to patients who prefer not to smoke.
Health Canada spokesperson Sean Upton said licensed producers will receive a supplemental license from the government to being producing extracts, but an inspection needs to take place before before they can sell them.
“When all requirements are met, including analytical testing to ensure compliance with the conditions of the supplemental licence and the requirements for good production practices under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation, Health Canada will amend the supplemental licence to include the activity of sale,” Upton said.
A dozen operations are now approved to produce cannabis oils with the expanded licence including Tilray, in Nanaimo, BC, which announced Oct. 5 it is awaiting Health Canada approval to sell gel caps, oils, sprays and topical lotions.
“It was important to let patients and the general public, physicians and researchers know about these products,” said Tilray research and services vice-president Philippe Lucas. “We know there’s going to be a lot of questions about the products, the first time that these kinds of extract products will be legally available in Canada.”
Any patient currently authorized to use medical cannabis can access the expanded products, based on the patient’s existing daily and monthly prescription limitations.
Jennifer Ayotte of Oshawa, Ont. said she currently treats her daughter’s seizures from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome with brownies containing dried cannabis, but cannabis oils would make things easier.
While the brownies have reduced her daughter’s seizures by 90 per cent, the sugar has led to weight gain and Ayotte would prefer having an oil capsule.
Ayotte said other drugs didn’t offer any improvement or had side-effects.
“Certainly for us and for other people who are caring for her, it will make it a lot easier, said Ayotte. “So when she is out or we’re in a restaurant and she needs to have it, instead of having a brownie, it can be put into the food that she’s eating.”