See also: Professional Guidance regarding medical use of Marijuana in Canada
Last updated Sept 12, 2015.
This is a summary of essential information for healthcare providers from Health Canada. Sources are:
- Medical Use of Marijuana
- Information for Health Care Professionals
- Procedures for Accessing Dried Marijuana for Medical Purposes Under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations
- Consumer Information - Cannabis (Marihuana, marijuana)
- Authorized Licensed Producers Under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations
- Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations - Daily Amount Fact Sheet (Dosage)
For information from the CFPC and provincial medical colleges regarding prescribing marijuana see: Professional Guidance regarding medical use of Marijuana in Canada.
The courts have established that Marijuana should be available to patients when presecribed by an authorized healthcare provider:
"Dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. The Government of Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a healthcare practitioner."(1)
For the purposes of authorizing marijuana use, all physicians and some nurse practictioners are considered authorized healthcare practitioners:
"Under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, an authorized healthcare practitioner includes physicians in all provinces and territories, and nurse practitioners in provinces and territories where supporting dried marijuana for medical purposes is permitted under their scope of practice."(3)
Healthcare practitioners authorizing marijuana use must provide the patient with a satisfactory "medical document."
"The following information must be included on the medical document signed and dated by the healthcare practitioner:
your full name;
your date of birth;
address where you consulted with the practitioner;
daily grams of dried marijuana you are authorized to use, the period of use (i.e. number of days, weeks or months), which cannot exceed one year from the date the medical document is signed by the healthcare practitioner;
the healthcare practitioner's name and, administrative information (profession, licence number, province of licence, business address, phone number, fax number and email address, if applicable); and
an attestation by the healthcare practitioner that the information contained in the document is correct and complete.
Healthcare practitioners can complete Health Canada's sample medical document or provide the required information in the format of their choice."(3)
After obtaining the required "medical document," a patient can register as a client of a licensed producer of marijuana and order marijuana, which is then delivered by mail.
See http://hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/access-acceder-eng.php#s3 and http://hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/access-acceder-eng.php#s4
There is a limit on the amount of marijuana a patient may possess:
"The amount of dried marijuana you can possess is the lesser of thirty times the daily amount stipulated by your healthcare practitioner or 150 grams. For example, if your healthcare practitioner recommends 3 grams per day, you would be allowed a maximum of 90 grams at any one time (30 days × 3 grams). However, if your healthcare practitioner recommends 6 grams per day, you would be allowed to possess a maximum of 150 grams at any one time, which would therefore be less than a 30-day supply."(3)
To demonstrate to law enforcement that marijuana is legally possessed, it is documentation from the licensed producer accompanying a patient's marijuana shipment that is required. The medical document provided by the healthcare practitioner is NOT adequate.
"If asked by law enforcement, you can demonstrate that you are in legal possession of dried marijuana for medical purposes obtained from a licensed producer by showing either the label on the marijuana package containing your specific client information or the separate document containing the same information which accompanied your shipment of marijuana."(3)