An Edmonton medical cannabis consumer is concerned about quality control in the industry, after she experienced unexpected side effects from familiar strains of cannabis she received from two licensed producers.
But Health Canada, doctors and industry insiders say producers face some of the most strict regulations in the world, and say Canada’s legal cannabis is safe.
Joan Kapuscinski has chronic pain due to fibromyalgia and insomnia. Before she started consuming cannabis a year and a half ago, she was sleeping just an hour at a time.
Kapuscinski, 60, was initially reluctant to try cannabis. But she had negative side effects from pharmaceutical drugs.
“I’m not looking to get high, I’m looking to feel better,” she said.
She bought her first batch of dried cannabis in July 2017 from Alberta-based producer Aurora. She chose an indica strain — a type of cannabis that generally provides a sense of body relaxation — called Snow Globe. The concentration of THC, the component that makes a consumer feel high, was around 21 per cent.
She vaporized a pinch of it each night before bed, and said the effects were “like a miracle.”
“It was relaxing and the pain went away. And I slept for like six hours straight,” she said. “I woke up in the morning, no hangover, just feeling fine. It really worked.”
Kapuscinski continued ordering the same strain for months with no issues, until she received her third order. She vaped a small amount, and her mind started racing.
“I couldn’t even catch up to my thoughts, and I went to bed and I was just vibrating,” she said. “Seriously, I couldn’t even finish a thought. It was crazy.”
Kapuscinski switched to another indica strain with a THC concentration of about 25 per cent from Tilray, another Canadian producer. She had no issues with it until her fourth order arrived.