How to Access Medical Cannabis in Canada: Part One

How to Access Medical Cannabis in Canada

How to Access Medical Cannabis in Canada: Part One

It can be a confusing and overwhelming process to get a medical authorization for cannabis. In this two part series we’ll go over the steps to take in order to access medical cannabis in Canada. With a medical authorization, you will be able to order from whatever licensed producers you register with.

Licensed Producers

In Canada, all medical cannabis is sold through licensed producers (sometimes referred to as licence holders) and sent directly to the patient through the mail. You can only order from the licensed producer that your doctor has sent a medical document to. To place an order, you will either call in to the licensed producer you have signed up with or log onto their website. There are currently no regulated medical cannabis storefronts on the regulated market in Canada.

Accessing Medical Cannabis
Your first step is to speak to your healthcare provider; whether it is your family doctor, nurse practitioner or specialist. A good place to start is to open up the dialogue that medical cannabis is something you’d like to try and why you think you would benefit from it. Having a list of medications or other treatments you have already tried can be helpful to have on hand in case they slip your mind during your appointment. It can also be beneficial to have notes written down in advance of things you’d like to bring up. Keep in mind that some healthcare providers only feel comfortable setting patients up with licensed producers that they have prior experience with.

If you have already decided which licensed producer you would like to get set up with, you can print off the forms from the licensed producer website and have them ready for your healthcare provider to sign. Most licensed producers are very helpful and would be more than happy to direct you to the papers you would need to bring to your appointment. If you’re not aware of the licensed producers available for patients, Strainprint Community has a wide variety of charts covering what types of products, discount programs and pricing options are available for each company.

If your doctor suggests buying cannabis through legal retailers, you may want to mention a few things.

  • you may qualify for a compassion pricing discount
  • you’re able to claim your cannabis as a medical expense
  • potential insurance coverage
  • more consistent stocking at certain licensed producers

In the next piece, How to Access Medical Cannabis Part 2, we’ll discuss how to obtain your medical authorization if your healthcare provider isn’t sure what to recommend or you don’t feel comfortable approaching them about cannabis.