The Medical Choice for Cannabis

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A pioneer in the medical cannabis industry, CanniMed has led the way since Health Canada allowed patients access to this medicine. Read more about why this licensed producer is the medical choice for thousands of Canadians when conventional medicine isn’t enough.

MAKING CANADIAN HISTORY IN THE INDUSTRY
CanniMed is unique in that it created the industry in which it’s now a leader. Canada’s first medical cannabis program was introduced in 2001 with the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, which allowed approved patients to purchase cannabis directly from Health Canada. Prairie Plant Systems, a division of CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., was the sole supplier to Health Canada and remained the only company to legally grow medical cannabis in Canada until March 2014.

When the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) were passed in 2013, patients could legally purchase cannabis only from a licensed producer. CanniMed was the first producer to be licensed by Health Canada.

In 2016 the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) replaced the MMPR and allowed licensed producers to sell medical cannabis derivatives, including edible oils—which generated more than 30% of CanniMed’s sales that year. On December 29 of that same year, CanniMed became a publicly traded company, successfully raising $69 million on its initial public offering. The company is expanding internationally and began exporting its cannabis oils to Australia and the Cayman Islands.

“For almost two decades, CanniMed has been on the front lines watching, participating, and leading the evolution of this industry. Now we’re focused on becoming the supplier of choice in the medical community and with patients who are looking for consistent, high-quality treatment alternatives in delivery forms that align to traditional methods,” says Brent Zettl, President and CEO.

TRAILBLAZING RESEARCH AND CLINICAL TRIALS
CanniMed is taking an active role in scientific research into the efficacy of medical cannabis. The company has collaborated with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, universities, and medical centres across the country. Reliable research requires a trusted supply of cannabis at a consistent potency in order to ensure quality control. CanniMed’s clinical trial program is robust and includes ongoing studies in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and juvenile epilepsy, among others. To date, the company’s Canadian-grown cannabis has been used in two published clinical trials that have shown its effectiveness and safety in treating chronic pain.1 2

EXCEEDING SAFETY AND QUALITY REQUIREMENTS
Product safety and quality is key for medical cannabis. Patients with weakened immune systems in particular require a product that’s consistent and free from contaminants, just like any other medication. Exposure to bacteria and mould, for instance, may lead to infection. CanniMed goes beyond the requirements for production of cannabis in Canada and follows the same strict standards required for pharmaceutical drugs: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). CanniMed is the only licensed producer in Canada to be deemed GMP-compliant by Health Canada.

“We have never used pesticides, fungicides, or plant growth regulators in the manufacturing of our products because we follow strict GMP with 281 points of quality control,” says Zettl. CanniMed’s products are tested at every stage of production. The soil and water are tested for impurities, and the plants are tested for metals, microorganisms, and mycotoxins. Each lot is traceable in the unlikely event of a recall. This rigorous quality assurance is impossible with products sold illegally by dispensaries or compassion clubs, which do not comply with GMP and cannot be trusted for purity or dose accuracy.

A VARIETY OF TREATMENT OPTIONS
Medical cannabis is used to relieve symptoms caused by a variety of diseases and conditions. Finding the right balance of the cannabinoids THC and CBD is important because they have different effects on the body. CanniMed has seven dried herbal products and three edible oils, which have gained popularity among the majority of the company’s patients. The company will soon be releasing more doseable forms such as capsules. Each product contains a standardized combination of cannabinoids, meaning patients can expect similar results from the same product every time they use it.

SUPERIOR CARE AND SUPPORT
CanniMed supports both patients and doctors to ensure that patients achieve their therapeutic goals. Their professional education programs help doctors gain control and
comfort in prescribing cannabis, while their in-house pharmacist offers expert advice on products and dosing. Zettl anticipates legislation changes will soon permit pharmacies to distribute cannabis. “Our industry is at the cusp of an important shift that will expand the role of pharmacists in counselling patients and dispensing medical cannabis products.”

In preparation, CanniMed and PharmaChoice, a co-operative representing more than 700 independent pharmacy owners across the country, entered into Canada’s first pharmacy distribution agreement for medical cannabis. CanniMed will provide training to PharmaChoice pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and PharmaChoice will exclusively distribute CanniMed’s products.

What does Zettl expect for the future of cannabis as a medicine? “With our continuing aging population, current treatment options to help manage pain—including opioids—can be problematic as a result of the potential for serious side effects. Medical cannabis will continue to gain in popularity as a recognized and standardized treatment option here in Canada and around the world.”


CARP members receive a $50 credit upon registration as a new CanniMed patient and 5% off Patient Direct Pricing or current best price offer, on medical cannabis products.

This advertorial was produced with the generous support of CanniMed. Learn more at CanniMed.ca

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1. Ware, M.A., Wang, T., Shapiro, S., Robinson, A. et al. (2010). Smoked Cannabis for Chronic Pain: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(14), E694–E701.
2. Ware, M.A., Wang, T., Shapiro, S., Collet, J.P. et al. (2015). Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study (COMPASS). The Journal of Pain, 16(12), 1233–42.