Do You Need a Prescription for CBD Oil in Canada?
As of October 2019, CBD (cannabidiol) oil with a THC level > 3% continues to require a prescription, however laws are subject to change and alternatives continue to be available (details below).
The regulation of cannabis and all its derivatives in Canada continues to be governed by the Cannabis Act which set forth regulations for the production, sale and distribution of cannabis since 2018.
Of particular concern is the legality of CBD oil. Known to be helpful for a variety of ailments, its popularity has increased substantially around the world due to its therapeutic use in a variety of conditions. Some of the well-known positive effects relate to its relaxing effect on the brain which in turn affects the nervous system and eases pain, anxiety and promotes healthy sleep.
Since CBD is one of the chemical substances in the highly regulated/prohibited cannabis plant, there has been a great deal of confusion regarding the legalities and possible prescription requirements for the purchase of CBD oil in Canada.
Under the Cannabis Act, strict regulations on products containing CBD (including CBD oil) continue to be enforced. Sale of these products is legal when they are sold under compliance with the regulations governing possession, production, distribution & sale through licensed producers and distributors.
Each province has its own age limits and licensing agency. The regulatory body in Ontario, for example, is the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario which has been given the right to regulate the sale of marijuana in private stores in this province.
Prior to all this, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) came into effect in 2016 recognizing the rights of individuals to produce medical cannabis products including oils, tinctures, edibles and plant flowers with a valid authorization (prescription) from their healthcare practitioner.
Cannabis Act Amendment (2019)
The Cannabis Act was recently amended on October 17, 2019, to allow growth in the market that was hindered as a result of heavy legal barriers and government restrictions.
The main changes involve regulatory laws regarding provincial approval of operating licenses for sale of edible and topical products containing cannabis.
The amendment now allows licensed producers to submit edible and topical products to Health Canada which are then subject to a 60-to-90-day approval and procurement process.
Rules Governing CBD Oil & Prescriptions
The current rules governing the requirement of a prescription for CBD oil are as follows:
- CBD oil with a THC level > 3% is legal with a prescription from a licensed supplier or dispensary
- CBD oil with a THC level < 0.3% is legal in Canada without a prescription, for personal use only
CBD oil is available for sale in Canada with or without a prescription from either provincially or territorially-authorized cannabis retailers or federally-licensed seller of cannabis for medical purposes.
The Popularity of CBD Oil Continues to Rise
CBD is an extract from the cannabis plant that has been used to support health by supplementing the human endocannabinoid system.
The system contains receptors that produce an effect on the brain when supplemented with CBD compounds, producing a positive effect on the nervous system and overall feeling of wellbeing.
CBD does not produce THC (tetrahyrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis that creates an intoxicated or “high” feeling.
Cannabinoids such as CBD direct certain receptors in the brain to use cannabinoids naturally produced in the body. The net effect of this action is the therapeutic effect commonly associated with the use of CBD oil.
The Benefits of High-Quality CBD Oil
CBD Oil is being used for a variety of health conditions, including:
- Pain relief
- Reducing inflammation
- Multiple sclerosis
- Acne & other skin conditions
How Do You Take CBD Oil?
CBD Oil can be taken through ingestion of edible food products such as baked goods, candies or infused into butter or other oils. Other popular ways include capsules, pills or inhalation through the use of vaporization devices.
A very effective way to take CBD oil is via a tincture commonly administered under the tongue which has been shown to be best for absorption.
CBD Oil & Canadian Law
Despite its many benefits, CBD oil in Canada continues to be a highly-regulated product requiring a prescription when THC levels exceed 3%.
CBD oil legally available with a prescription in Canada is only available through producers licensed by the government under the Cannabis Act.
Issues with CBD Oil Quality in Canada
The quality of CBD oil available by government-licensed producers has come into question with consumer complaints being made about the minimal availability and quality of the product.
The most common issue about the oils produced by licensed distributors concerns the “carrier” oil, which has been suspected to be of low quality and contain significant amounts of pesticides and herbicides.
Consumer reviews about the quality of CBD oil have determined that the best quality CBD oil was available from “grey market” retailers that were operating in the dispensary market prior to the Cannabis Act of 2018.
Availability of High-Quality CBD Oil
The current law states that only federally-approved companies may sell CBD oil in Canada which has been found to be of lower quality.
Companies with the capacity to produce high-quality CBD oil and sell through dispensaries are not legally allowed to sell their products in Canada due to restrictions in the current licensing framework.
Plans to include dispensary operations in the current framework are currently underway for inclusion in the regulatory framework. Until that time most Canadians currently opt to purchase high-quality CBD oil with THC from online sources.
Buying CBD in Canada — What You Need to Know
Since October 2018, cannabis — both hemp and marijuana are legal for both medical and recreational use.
Today, you can purchase hemp-derived CBD products and marijuana flowers across Canadian dispensaries without a doctor’s prescription.
Legal cannabis comes with strict regulation and plenty of legal hoops to jump through just to be able to operate in the Canadian market. Many companies operating in Europe and the United States are unavailable in Canada as a direct result of this.
The best place to find CBD products approved for the Canadian market is at CBD Oil Canada.
This article will take you on a walk through the Canadian CBD world where you’ll learn the best options for buying CBD.
Summary: Buying CBD in Canada
- For the most part, CBD oil brands in Canada aren’t available outside the country — for the best selection of Canadian-specific CBD products, check out the selection at CBD Oil Canada
- CBD is regulated under the Cannabis Act, and it falls under the same regulations as cannabis — regardless of its THC content
- CBD oils are completely legal in Canada, and you can buy it without a prescription
- You won’t be able to buy CBD oil from most US or European CBD brands (exception is Endoca)
- CBD retailers must be authorized to sell cannabis products — a process that can take many months and cripling legal fees
Best CBD Vendors in Canada
1. CBD Oil Canada (Third-Party Vendor)
CBD Oil Canada is an online shop that carries most of the Canadian vendors on this list. They’re a third-party vendor which means they don’t actually make their own CBD products — they merely offer a selection of different brands like any other retail or ecommerce shop.
2. Honest Botanicals
Honest Botanicals is based out of Vancouver where they have access to some of the best hemp in Canada, all year round. They carry all the essentials — topicals, oils, capsules, gummies, and a few other categories. Pricing remains competitive with the Canadian market and their products meet all the expectations for testing and potency.
3. Island Therapeutics
Island Therapeutics is based on Vancouver island. They specialize in full-spectrum holistic CBD products. Some of their products feature additional herbs and nutrients to provide even greater benefit for combatting symptoms like pain or anxiety.
4. Miss Envy
Miss Envy is another Vancouver-based company (seems to be a bit of a pattern here) with some top-notch cannabinoid products — not limited to just CBD.
This company carries some of the best CBD concentrates and phoenix tears we’ve tried yet.
How to Buy CBD Products in Canada (Legally)
The Canadian CBD market is very different from pretty much everywhere else simply because the whole plant is legal and regulated. The same restrictions apply whether a company is selling CBD oil or psychoactive THC oil.
In order for CBD brands to operate here, they need to spend a ton of money on legal fees and applications and endure a rigorous application process that can take over a year to complete.
This process makes the CBD industry much more reliable than in places like the US — but it also drives up the price of CBD oil and severely limits the number of companies that offer their products in Canada.
In order to even sell CBD oil in Canada, companies need to go through a completely separate application process that requires a lot of experience to navigate. This makes it both tedious and expensive.
This means many US brands haven’t bothered to apply and don’t offer direct shipping to Canada. It also means the CBD marketplace in Canada is very unique to the country. Many of the brands operating here aren’t offered anywhere else in the world.
The best place to shop for Canadian CBD products is through a Canadian CBD marketplace.
I live in Canada and have used this company several times. My favorite brand here is Island Therapeutics — which sell some really nice full-spectrum hemp extract grown in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
Tips for Buying CBD in Canada
- Order from a Canadian-certified CBD retailer
- European CBD brands are more likely to ship to Canada than US brands
- Understand the differences between CBD oil and THC oil
- Expect to pay about 15% more for CBD oil in Canada compared to the US
- Know your retailer/company — shop from proven brands like Island Therapeutics
- Don’t look purely at aesthetics — your CBD product can have great branding and still be of poor quality
- Look for evidence of third-party testing before you buy
- Avoid buying CBD labeled with health claims — this is illegal in Canada
A Brief History of Cannabis Laws in Canada
Canada has a complex cannabis history.
At the beginning of the 19th century, hemp cultivation was considered “the source of wealth to settlers.” The government distributed hemp seeds to farmers in hopes of stimulating the economy for its many potential uses.
Towards the end of the century, cannabis production was replaced with cotton due to cheaper labor costs.
In 1923, cannabis was added on the Confidential Restricted List under the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill — 14 years before the United States prohibited cannabis.
Historians believe that one of the main reasons for cannabis prohibition was a paragraph from the book, The Black Candle. The author, Emily Murphy — the first female magistrate in Canada — described cannabis as an initiator of homicidal tendencies in users.
In the period between 1930 – 1940, cannabis convictions increased. Through the following years, cannabis was more and more equated with marijuana, and its psychoactive effects, which ultimately affected hemp’s legal status.
Marijuana became popular in Canada in the 60s with the rise of the counterculture. Ten years later, advocates made efforts to legalize marijuana.
In 1998, the Canadian government allowed cultivation and processing of industrial hemp under very restrictive rules.
In 2003 and 2004, two bills on the decriminalization of recreational marijuana failed. In 2006, penalties increased, and the maximum sentence on cannabis production doubled from 7 to 14 years.
Today, under the Cannabis Act, cannabis — regardless of its THC content — is completely legal in Canada. The country allows the cultivation of both marijuana and industrial hemp.
Is CBD Legal In Canada?
Under the Cannabis Act, both marijuana and industrial hemp are completely legal in Canada. However, only cannabis licensed processors and retailers can extract, produce, and sell CBD.
For consumers, it’s easy to order CBD oils if you live in Canada. The hard part is for the people and companies selling CBD oil.
Canada has very strict regulations about who can sell cannabis products. Everything from the storage, labeling, advertising, and pricing are tightly controlled by the Canadian government.
Anybody that wants to sell CBD oils in Canada needs to go through a complicated application process that can take several months. The whole process costs a fortune and leaves a lot of startup founders pulling their hair out.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Canada?
The short answer is yes, all naturally-occurring analogs of THC are legal in Canada.
The active ingredient in marijuana is THC. Most THC in the cannabis plant is a specific isomer called delta 9 THC.
Lately, there’s been another version of THC circulating around called delta 8 THC. It’s popular because it gets a pass from some of the more prohibitive marijuana laws in places like the United States. Learn more about the legal status of delta 8 THC in the United States.
But it goes much further than this.
Delta 8 THC actually has a different high than the standard delta 9 isomer. It’s much more chilled-out and relaxing. People who find regular THC products too “anxiety-inducing” will likely prefer the effects of delta 8.
In Canada, delta 8 THC is entirely legal for both recreational and medical purposes. All marijuana-derived products are considered legal here, including the delta 8 isomer.
Canadian Law: What is The Cannabis Act?
During his campaign in 2015, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize recreational marijuana. In October 2018, the Canadian Cannabis Act came into effect, amending the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and the Criminal Code.
Before the Cannabis Act, CBD was strictly regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and was illegal to produce it or sell unless it was authorized for medical or scientific purposes.
The Cannabis Act includes several regulations on the cannabis plant — both marijuana and hemp.
Following its rules, you must be at least 19 (18 in Alberta and Quebec) years of age to purchase cannabis products, and you’re limited to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public at a time.
30 grams is pretty generous. This works out to just over an ounce, which is plenty for most cannabis users in a given day, but not so much that it’s even worth selling on the black market.
The Canadian government employed strict penalties if users don’t abide by these rules. Possession over the 30 gram limit could lead to 5 years in prison.
Can I Take CBD Oils From Canada to the US?
It’s illegal to transport any cannabis products across the US-Canada border. This is true even in cases where the border-state considers CBD completely legal. Even though you’re traveling from Canada to a legal-US state, the border is the domain of the federal government — where Cannabis is considered a Schedule I drug.
Europe is also problematic for transporting CBD products. While I’ve heard many stories of people doing this without any issues — some countries strictly ban any cannabis products which could land you in some serious trouble if caught.
Do not cross any borders with CBD products.
How is Industrial Hemp Regulated Under the Cannabis Act?
The Cannabis Act includes a specific regulation on hemp, known as the Industrial Hemp Regulations Program (IHR). The Industrial Hemp Regulations Program defines hemp as a cannabis plant and plant parts with a THC content of 0.3% or less in the leaves and flowering heads .
Under this program, Canadian farmers can grow low-THC cannabis — which we’ll refer to as industrial hemp — under government-regulated conditions. To cultivate, process, and sell industrial hemp, Canadian farmers must obtain a federal license.
The IHR allows the procession and sale of industrial hemp derivatives such as hemp seed oil, hemp flour, and hemp seeds.
Under the IHR, industrial hemp does not include derivatives obtained from the flowering parts of the leaves.
Therefore, farmers who want to extract derivatives from industrial hemp (including CBD), must obtain a cannabis processing license.
The cannabis processing license authorizes the grower to cultivate hemp for the parts that have CBD and process them for CBD products.
Without this license, the hemp grower can still cultivate the plant for CBD-containing parts but only sell them to a licensed cannabis processor.
Final Notes on Buying CBD In Canada
Canada is a cannabis enthusiast’s dream. The country’s laws are friendly towards the cannabis plant — which means buying both hemp and marijuana products easy to buy online and in-store.
However, along with the openness comes a lot of regulation. Canada treats cannabis products a lot like alcohol — which means there are strict rules regulating who can make and sell CBD products.
Selling CBD oils in Canada requires a lot of money, and a lot of legal hoops to jump through which can take several months or longer.
Most of the CBD brands sold in Canada are strictly based out of Canada. You’ll be hard-pressed to find American CBD companies that ship that far North. You’re more likely to find a European company that ship CBD oils to Canada, but the shipping rates can be hard to justify.
Instead, head to a marketplace like CBD Oil Canada, or check out some Canadian CBD brands like Island Therapeutics, Ontario Cannabis Shop, or Tilray.
Medical Cannabis in Ontario
Although recreational cannabis has been legalized throughout Canada, those in Ontario seeking out medical cannabis should only seek treatment for medical conditions through approved practitioners.
At CannaWay Clinic, our physicians and medical staff specialize in providing Ontarians with full treatment plans and can offer prescriptions for all forms of medical cannabis products, including CBD oil and products containing THC.
How do I get medical cannabis in Ontario?
The process for obtaining medical cannabis is the same in Ontario as it is in other Canadian provinces, however, the process is still quite different than the process of getting other types of prescriptions. Medical cannabis in Canada is regulated under the Cannabis Act.
At CannaWay Clinic, we help our patients through every part of the process. The first step is to schedule a virtual appointment using our online web form. You do not need a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment.
Once you have been granted a prescription, you can order your prescription through an Approved Licensed Producer. Medical cannabis is tax deductible in Canada and may even be covered by some health insurance policies.
CannaWay Clinic serves patients across Ontario including Toronto, Ottawa, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and Niagara.
What are the regulations concerning the use of medical cannabis in Ontario?
Although healthcare is governed through provincial bodies, the Cannabis Act is the regulatory framework that guides the use of medical cannabis across the country. CannaWay Clinic is compliant with both federal and provincial legislation that relates to healthcare and medical cannabis.
To access medical cannabis, patients must obtain a prescription from a health care practitioner. At CannaWay Clinic, you will have a comprehensive consultation where a medical cannabis prescription will be granted if deemed appropriate for your ailments or symptoms. Then, a licensed cannabis producer will fill your prescription for products such as CBD or THC oils, cannabis topicals or cannabis flower.
With your prescription, you can travel anywhere in Canada with your medical cannabis. You may not take your medical cannabis with you on international trips at this time.
What symptoms are CannaWay Clinic patients suffering from in Ontario?
Medical cannabis is prescribed to patients suffering from a wide variety of health conditions ranging from chronic pain to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Among the conditions we have seen treated with medical cannabis are:
If you are affected by any of the conditions listed above or if you have another medical issue that you believe medical cannabis might help, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors to assess your needs.
Contact us today to schedule your remote consultation
At this time, during social distancing measures from COVID-19, CannaWay Clinic is scheduling remote appointments for your safety. If you are seeking treatment with medical cannabis anywhere in Ontario, please fill out our online form. We will contact you shortly to schedule your Telemedicine Appointment. All appointments are free of charge to the patient.
Located in east-central Canada, Ontario is the economic hub of Canada, with a population of 14.57 million. The capital city is Toronto. Ontario is also home to the nation’s capital Ottawa. Ontario is well known for its national diversity, including the Great Lakes, provincial parks and the majestic Niagara Falls. In 2018, CannaWay Clinic opened up several cannabis clinics including branches in Oakville, Scarborough, Brampton, Mississauga, and Etobicoke. Due to the pandemic, we have switched to virtual appointments to serve our patients better.
Comprehensive Medical Cannabis Plan
There are no referrals necessary to book an appointment with one of our physicians.