Whistler's only licensed medical marijuana producer was recently approved to sell cannabis oil to its clients.
The Whistler Medical Marijuana Company (WMMC) has been producing the oil for the past six months as it awaited the federal go-ahead for sales. It is now one of only two licensed sellers in B.C. and the only organic certified producer of cannabis oil.
"The demand for oil has existed since Day 1 and we find that as an alternative to smoking, it's something that a large number of patients would prefer to have the option to do," explained WMMC founder Chris Pelz.
The plant-based extract allows for the drug to be ingested orally, and can be used for cooking as well. The oils can be made from a combination of marijuana strains and can be developed to treat specific ailments. The ratio of weed's main medicinal ingredients can also be altered depending on the patient's needs. Cancer and multiple sclerosis patients, for instance, tend to prefer higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive ingredient used to treat pain, as opposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can produce both euphoria and anxiety in users. The Whistler Medical Marijuana Company is currently in talks with the BC Cancer Agency to participate in a research study on the effects of cannabis oil in cancer patients.
Pelz estimated roughly 30 per cent of his current clients have expressed interest in using the oil extracts, a ratio he only expects to rise in the future.
"It will probably become closer to 50-50 as we start to develop high CBD strains with a low THC component," he noted. Current legislation requires cannabis extracts have relatively low concentrations of THC and to be in liquid form at room temperature. Wax, shatter and other solid concentrates, popular on the U.S. West Coast, are not legal for production or sale in Canada.
The only other B.C. producer currently licensed to sell cannabis oil at this time is Nanaimo-based Tilray.