Cannabis and cancer
Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Odette Cancer Program  >  Patient & family education  >  Cannabis and cancer  >  Recreational and medicinal cannabis

Recreational and medicinal cannabis

Medicinal cannabis

  • Medicinal cannabis is made by using parts of the cannabis plant to get THC or CBD for treatment of symptoms.
  • Is sold through Health Canada licensed producers and providers.
  • Medicinal cannabis use can be authorized by a nurse practitioner or doctor.

Recreational cannabis

  • It is illegal to buy recreational cannabis from an unlicensed provider.
  • You do not need medical authorization to buy recreational cannabis.
  • Recreational cannabis is used to get a “high.”
  • Buying recreational cannabis from a licensed provider lowers the chance that it will have:
    • fungal contamination
    • unknown impurities
    • pesticides
    • a dosage that may change each time you buy it


  • Health care providers do not prescribe medicinal cannabis, they authorize use.
  • Sunnybrook has experts who can help you with this. Ask your healthcare team (nurse, doctor, pharmacist, social worker, dietician) who you can speak to about medicinal cannabis. The pharmacy team can help you with the rest of the process.

How to get medicinal cannabis

  • It is not legal to buy medicinal cannabis from an unlicensed provider.
  • You can register with Health Canada to grow a small amount for your own medical use.
  • We do not advise that you switch from medicinal to recreational cannabis because there may be more THC in recreational cannabis. THC causes a “high.”


  • You can only carry the lesser of 150 grams, or a 30-day supply of dried medicinal cannabis.
  • There are strict rules for growing cannabis for medicinal use.
  • It is not legal to transport cannabis across the Canadian border.