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Nova Scotians can now buy medical cannabis online through Shoppers Drug Mart

The pharmacy's Medical Cannabis by Shoppers website is now available across the country
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Medical cannabis users in Nova Scotia can now order products through Shoppers Drug Mart.

The pharmacy's Medical Cannabis by Shoppers website was first launched in Ontario last January, expanded to Alberta in April, and is now available across the country.

According to Statistics Canada, over 1.1 million Canadians use medicinal cannabis, but more than 800,000 of them are self-medicating with recreational cannabis or buying it illegally.

Mike Boivin, a member of Shoppers' advisory board on medical cannabis, said this means they may not be getting necessary input from a medical professional.

"I'm under the firm belief that this is a medication like anything else and some people could really benefit from some guidance," he said. "So what do you take, how do you take it, what are the potential side effects and are there any interactions or problems with my other medical conditions."

Medical cannabis users in Canada still require authorization from a doctor or nurse practitioner to access the product, like a prescription.

Boivin said those who don't have a doctor may not know where to start, especially if they've never used cannabis before. That's why their site has partnered with online telemedicine portal HelloMD, where users can consult with a health professional free of charge.

"These advisors will be able to provide them information on what to do, what not to do, what are potential products, how do you manage it, and they'll guide them through the process," he explained.

Recreational pot users generally choose products with higher THC and low CBD, but medical users usually want higher CBD and just enough THC to help their symptoms.

Some thought the legalization of recreational cannabis would be the death of medical pot, but Boivin believes the opposite is true.

"Some of the stigma is going and more and more people are coming forward," he told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. "We're seeing some people I never thought would be using it."

"Four weeks ago I was at a nursing home talking to seniors about it because many of these people have conditions like chronic pain that's not really being managed with the other medications they're taking."

Under current regulations, Health Canada doesn't allow users to buy medical cannabis at a retail outlet. This means Canadians can't go to a Shoppers Drug Mart location, get their pot prescriptions filled and leave with the product. All orders need to be delivered through registered mail, but Boivin hopes that changes one day.

"This is complicated. There's hundreds and hundreds of strains, hundreds of different conditions, some of the people using this are in their 50s, 60s and 70s or younger where they have conditions and need that extra support," he said.

"I think there's a lot of pharmacists that can provide great quality care and people have relationships with their local pharmacies."

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for
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