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ON 17 October 2018 (‘Legalisation Day’) Canada became the world’s second – and largest – country to legalise recreational cannabis, 17 years after it first made medical cannabis legal. The historic move, which allows adults aged 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis and grow up to four plants per residence, was greeted enthusiastically by many in the country but has nonetheless prompted concerns from some over patient access to cannabis-based medicines. Health Europa asked James O’Hara, the president and CEO of non-profit organisation Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), to tell us
more about the challenges surrounding medical cannabis and the implications of recreational legalisation. CFAMM believes it is important to understand and recognise that there are key differences in the makeup, and ultimately the purpose of, medical versus non-medical cannabis, and this difference is related to the two main cannabinoids found in cannabis, THC and CBD. THC is the main cannabinoid associated with the high feeling, whereas CBD is non-intoxicating and is used predominantly in a medical application where the goal is to get well, not get high. While THC is certainly required in a medical context due to the synergistic effects of both THC and CBD, it typically comes in lower concentrations compared to non-medical cannabis. Safeguarding patient access to medical cannabis in Canada

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