In 2018, the Canadian government passed the Cannabis Act, which allowed Canadians to use marijuana for recreational purpose. This law works alongside the C-46 bill that brought changes to the Marijuana Criminal Code. Thus, one can consume marijuana privately using whichever technique they please: smoking, vaporization, or edibles. Medical marijuana, however, can be vaped, smoked, or ingested in within the designated public places provided by the municipal and provincial administrations.
Medicinal cannabis is basically the same as the one used for recreational use, but in this context, they are used in the treatment of various health conditions. These ailments include chronic pains and backaches, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.
In 2014, the use of cannabis for medical purposes was approved by the Health Canada. With this approval, prescription for medical marijuana can be done under the discretion of a doctor. Patients can request their physicians to sign a medical document that allows them to purchase, grow, or possess therapeutic marijuana. If the doctor opts to sign the health papers, s/he must consider several factors. For instance, medical marijuana has abuse potential, and physicians need to assess their patients’ susceptibility to becoming addicted before administering cannabis as medicine.
Eligibility for Medical Marijuana in Calgary
In 2016, Health Canada passed the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation to replace the stringent Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. The new policies give Canadians the freedom to apply for registration to allow them to acquire a prescription/dose from a regulated member under Health Canada. They also allow Calgarians to cultivate a limited number of marijuana plants by themselves, or designate a second-party to grow it on their behalf.
Under the ACMPR, primary caregivers serve as the gate-keepers for individuals to access cannabis. Patients must get prescriptions from the doctor in a bid to obtain cannabis from a Licensed Producer (LP) or apply for a license to grow marijuana. Thus, the agreement to use medical weed exists only between the patient and the doctor.
For you to be eligible for medical cannabis use under ACMPR, you’ll need to reveal your medical documents that detail the previous diagnosis from a qualified doctor. The clinical specialist or the nurse who assesses the health documents must ensure that it is within a specific time-frame (usually set by the physician) and that the details provided are accurate.
The patient’s medical document must highlight the following:
- Patient’s personal information, such as the full names, date of birth, and the designated healthcare number.
- Information about the regulated member, including the registration numbers, full names, physical address, and telephone number, as well as email or fax addresses.
- The location at which the patient last received the services from the regulated member
- The medical condition or ailment that requires treatment using cannabis
- Daily prescriptions of medical cannabis expressed in grams (g)
- The timeframe for use based upon the date on which the patient’s health document was approved
- Date and signature of the regulated member
How To Obtain a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Calgary
For new Calgary users in search of a prescription, the process may, at first, be challenging. However, this guide will offer critical tips to assist you in accessing legal marijuana for treatment purposes.
Get a Referral
As mentioned earlier, your primary caregiver is your gate-pass to accessing a medical cannabis prescription. They have to assess and study the patient’s medical records and write a referral prescription letter to a licensed cannabis clinic. These clinics also offer prescriptions in case your local family physician isn’t authorized to do so.
Head to a Cannabis Clinic
Once you obtain the referral letter from your doctor, you can then schedule a cannabis clinic appointment. The professionals here will verify your eligibility to use therapeutic marijuana through assessment and consultations. Remember, the evaluation cannot begin if you have not submitted the document confirming the diagnosis.
Obtaining the Prescription
The healthcare experts at the clinic will guide you through the most appropriate products and cannabis strains that best suit your health condition. They might also offer tailored education programs regarding the products for you. Even so, because of other underlying medical issues or side effects, some patients may not be eligible to use medicinal marijuana.
Register with a Licensed Producer
May individuals fail to comprehend the fact that cannabis clinics only offer education and insights on the ideal marijuana product for a particular health issue; they don’t sell cannabis-related products. The clinic links you to a licensed producer (LP) under ACMPR. Such producers are trained on how to cultivate cannabis according to Health Canada’s regulations. The connection to an ACMPR licensed producer ensures that you get the best treatment for you.
According to the policies set by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), the cannabis clinic (which referred you to an LP) should conduct follow-up programs to ensure the treatment has had a positive effect on the patient. Thus, you’ll consult with them on when to visit for an appointment so they can assess your progress and make changes to your treatment plan if need be.
How to Change Your ACMPR Licensed Producer
Different reasons may compel a patient to want to change their licensed medicinal-marijuana producer. You have the option to do that at any time you deem fit. However, switching to a new LP means that producer will not return your medical document. Granted, to change an LP, you must do the following:
- Obtain a fresh medical document from your physician
- Cancel the application/ registration under the existing LP
- Fill in a new form/document with regards to your new licensed producer
- Submit the newly filled-in form to your new ACMPR professional producer
Medicinal cannabis use is still unclear in Calgary, especially because the use of marijuana in the health sector is still at a budding stage. Health Canada has taken crucial steps to create clear policies to ensure the products and services under therapeutic cannabis are standardized to deliver positive health outcomes.