Seniors curious about medical marijuana attended a packed forum predominantly about the drug at the Central Lions Seniors Association on Nov. 20.

Dr. Mark H. Kimmins, who started as a colorectal surgeon, became an advocate for medical marijuana when patients returned their painkillers. Knowing too many people die from opiate addiction, Kimmins became interested what else marijuana can help and found a lot.

Health Canada has concluded there is substantial evidence to support the use of medical cannabis for several symptoms or conditions including: chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, motor disorders, epilepsy, insomnia, anorexia, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, headache and migraine, osteoarthritis, psychiatric disorders, and much more.

Most questioners wanted to hear how medical marijuana may reverse or prevent dementia.

Kimmins replied, “Ongoing research indicates the potential to reverse, prevent, and/or treat dementia and Alzheimer’s.” One audience member said, “Hurry up.” The audience laughed as Kimmins responded, “We are all on the same conveyor belt. We just get off at different times.”  

Many of those at the forum wanted to know how medical marijuana could help reverse or prevent dementia. | Rusti Lehay

Bill Hallam, another speaker, was given a death sentence in 2000. Doctors advised him to seek palliative care. Several friends suggested marijuana.

“The prescribed drugs caused painful swelling of my eyes, joints, hands and intense nausea,” said Hallam. Stealing his desire to eat also stole his vitality. “I wasn’t the type of guy to wake up and smoke a joint. I became that guy.” After a joint, he could eat, then feel great until evening. “That diagnosis slammed me into the right here, right now moment. At night, I smoked a joint to relieve anxiety.”

In 2016, Hallam was one of the 13,000 Canadians who sued the Canadian government, winning the right to grow their own medical cannabis.

Recreational cannabis and medicinal cannabis products have vastly different profiles. The latter will continue to be distributed through a traditional medical model, eventually becoming available in pharmacies. Currently, medical marijuana may be purchased only through licensed providers, although patients with prescriptions may grow their own.

The cannabis plant contains approximately 100 chemicals called phytocannabinoids. Many of these compounds have potential therapeutic benefits while only one of these compounds (THC) is psychoactive.

Medical marijuana can help with many health conditions. | Rusti Lehay

At this point, licensed producers can only sell dried cannabis and edible oil extract products. Vapourizers, the recommended way to use dried medical marijuana, heats the drug to release the medical components and the patient inhales the vapour. This method is efficient and has no smoke or carcinogens.

Kimmins recommends starting with the lowest possible dosage, increasing slowly to the most beneficial level. But cookie fiends beware. One cookie with cannabis will not produce any immediate effect, but eating 20 may result in excessive vomiting.

Hallam says growing the challenging plant “is part of my therapy.” A former candy-maker, he makes cannabis candies, cookies, or brownies. “I make some batches with cannabis, some without so I can avoid the delayed cumulative effect if I want to eat a whole tray. I also use a vaporizer because my doctor says smoking it is risky.”

Kimmins said there have been no reports of overdoses. According to Kimmins, marijuana doesn’t target our vital systems and our bodies also have what is called an Endocannabinoid System. This system’s receptors bind to our body’s natural compounds as well as to the cannabis plant.

“Reports of ibuprofen, coffee, even water overdoses exist. There is no such report on medical cannabis. One monkey received 150,000 times the recommended dosage.”

The monkey returned to normal behaviour after staring at a wall for several hours.

Expect to pay $5-15 per gram of medical marijuana, although compassionate pricing is available from most licensed producers. Kimmins said prices may fall as the industry becomes more established and research progresses.

Recreational marijuana will be legal on July 1, 2018.


Cannabis Revealed by Dr. Bonnie Goldstein

Marijuana Gateway to Health by Clint Warner

Cannabis in Medical Practice by Mary Lynn Mathre for free education seminars.

The Cannabis Show available at

1.844.262.0942 Natural Health Services to grow your own medical cannabis

[email protected]

Featured Image: Recreational marijuana and medical marijuana have different profiles. | Rusti Lehay