Cannabis for medical purposes has been legal in Canada since 2001, when individuals with certain illnesses such as HIV/AIDS were authorized to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from authorized producers or Health Canada. This was a relatively small number of Canadians who had the legal right to possess the drug.
As of October 17, 2018, cannabis became legal across the country to unquestionably mixed reviews. The benefits of marijuana use were touted, as were the drawbacks.
And just like that, the medical landscape had changed. With marijuana becoming legal recreationally, patients were now more inclined to feel comfortable talking to physicians about their use and ask for advice.
The need to establish evidence-based guidelines to assist physicians in optimizing patient care was urgent and of the upmost importance.
The medical community has swept into action to provide resources for physicians now requiring significant knowledge on cannabis and its many forms, and also on its interactions with individual medications.
Most medical regulatory authorities in Canada consistently state that more information is required on the medical risks and therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
The list and resources will continue to grow as more research and studies are conducted, and easily accessible, current and relevant information remains a top request from physicians.
These are some excellent starting points for accessing information on cannabis, medical marijuana, and the regulations surrounding cannabis for medical purposes. Each provincial medical regulatory authority (College) has guidelines and policies that you can access as well.
Regulations under the Cannabis Act
set out the rules and standards that apply to the production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis by federal licence holders.
The set of regulations that most pertains to physicians is called the Cannabis Regulations
as it is the outlines the legalities governing medical cannabis.
Physicians are guided and encouraged to become familiar with the Cannabis Regulations, and also to know and follow the guidelines and policies set out by their provincial college.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has a dedicated cannabis section
on their website that has detailed information and sources for use.
Physicians are advised that they should not feel obligated to complete the medical document for medical cannabis when they are unfamiliar with its use or management, and can feel confident that they can contact their provincial college and the CMPA for advice at any time.
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