Cannabis and Medical Devices – Current State and Future Prospective

Cannabis and Medical Devices – Current State and Future Prospective

April 25, 2018 By

Defining Term ‘Medical Device’

What exactly is a “medical device”? This isn’t a term that is often used in everyday conversation and is a subject that most people outside of the healthcare industry or profession don’t really know about. The term medical device, as defined by the Food and Drugs Act in Canada, covers a “wide range of health or medical instruments used in the treatment, mitigation, diagnosis or prevention of a disease or abnormal physical condition”. Although the definition may seem complicated, it’s actually much simpler than you think.

Medical devices are used by people on a daily basis and most may not even know they’re actually using one. Cut your finger while making dinner? Well that adhesive bandage you’re about to apply is a medical device. Feeling under the weather? Well that thermometer you’re about to use to take your temperature is a medical device. As you can see, medical devices don’t need to be a complicated series of medical tools that can only be used by trained professionals.

Two devices for the delivery of cannabis for medical purposes

Medical devices have a number of everyday applications available to consumers, including those related to cannabis. To date, there are only two medical devices licensed by Health Canada for the delivery of cannabis for medical purposes. These two devices are the Volcano Medic (which is a table top unit that includes a balloon for inhalation) and Mighty Medica (which is a handheld device for inhalation). These devices offer users of cannabis for medicinal purposes an additional method to receive treatment that is not associated with smoking dried herbal cannabis. Instead, these devices work by heating up herbal cannabis to a degree at which the active medicinal ingredients can be inhaled without the harmful by-products associated with the burning of dried herbal cannabis.

With only two devices currently registered with Health Canada, there is huge potential for the development and sale of medical devices for the delivery of cannabis for medical purposes. With the coming into force of the proposed Cannabis Act (here now known as the Act) in the late summer of this year, that potential is further strengthened. You may be asking yourself “But if they’re going to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, why would cannabis for medical purposes matter?” The answer to that question is quite simple. Although the Act looks to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, “the Government of Canada has indicated that it intends to maintain a distinct framework under the proposed Act to provide access to cannabis for medical purposes ”.

Knowing that the government intends to keep cannabis for medical purposes distinct from recreational cannabis means that the development of medical devices for the delivery of cannabis is not a thing of the past. This is further supported by data from Health Canada that shows that between April and December of 2017, the number of registered clients for the use of cannabis for medical purposes increased by 95,000 users . So, even though cannabis is soon to be sold recreationally, the demand for access to cannabis for medical purposes is still increasing. With an increase in the number of those seeking cannabis for medical purposes, an increase in individuals using medical devices as a means to receive treatment is sure to follow.

dicentra Cannabis Consulting is committed to keeping both current and prospective clients well informed and educated on the proposed Cannabis Act and the proposed cannabis regulatory framework. We are committed to providing you with news, updates and information as Bill C-45 (the proposed Cannabis Act) progresses through the legislature. For any cannabis related questions, please contact us by phone at 416-361-3400 or toll free at 1-866-647-3279 or via email at