How to Access Medical Cannabis in Canada: Part Two
If your healthcare provider is unsure of what to recommend or you aren’t comfortable approaching them about cannabis, you are not out of options. Cannabis clinics like The Herb Clinic, Lyte and Natural Care are excellent options for patients looking to access medical cannabis. There are essentially two types of cannabis clinics; self-refer and referral based.
If your healthcare provider is not comfortable authorizing medical cannabis or unsure of what to recommend, you can ask for a referral to a cannabis clinic. You will need to print off the referral form and bring it to your healthcare provider to fill out and sign. You can usually find the referral form on the website of the clinic but if you cannot find it, call or email the clinic. Once your doctor fills out the referral form, they will send it to the cannabis clinic to review.
If your healthcare provider does not want to refer you, some cannabis clinics will require patients to fill out a release form. This will then be sent to your healthcare provider’s office, who will send relevant medical documents to the cannabis clinic to be reviewed. Once your medical records have been reviewed, an appointment will be set up, either at the clinic or via telemedicine. Telemedicine appointments are done using a secure app on a mobile device or computer. Some licensed producers have compassion pricing programs to help make their products more affordable. If you are a low income patient or on government assistance, bring copies of any documentation, like your latest notice of assessment. If you are doing your appointment via telemedicine you will need to scan and send a copy to the cannabis clinic.
With a self refer clinic like Lyte, patients fill out paperwork detailing their medical history, including symptoms, diagnoses, medications and treatments and submit it to the clinic. After your paperwork has been reviewed, an appointment will be set up either at the clinic or via telemedicine.
What to expect during your appointment
During the appointment, the healthcare provider may go over your medical records if they have any questions and make sure your questions have been answered. They may suggest certain products or THC to CBD ratios to look for. One thing to keep in mind is that your allotted grams per day is not the dose they are suggesting. Your grams per day will dictate how much you can order in a year, though some licensed producers will only allow patients to order one month’s supply. After your appointment you may sit down with a patient educator who will help you decide which licensed producer will best suit your needs and answer any other questions you may have. If you are having your appointment via telemedicine, you may have to book this separately from your appointment.
If you’re still unsure about how to access medical cannabis or how cannabis could potentially help you, Strainprint Community is a welcoming and safe place to ask questions. There is a wide variety of resources, such as articles on a variety of topics and licensed producer information charts covering what types of products, discount programs and pricing options are available for each company.