TALK TO
YOUR
DOCTOR

Your doctor may be unfamiliar with medical cannabis and hesitant to recommend it, so bring documentation to explain the science and support your experience.

BE FORTHRIGHT

There is nothing wrong or illegal about discussing medical cannabis with your doctor. Doctors are accustomed to patients bringing ideas to them about treatment options and preferences, and cannabis therapeutics should be no different.

Your doctor may be unfamiliar with medical cannabis and hesitant to recommend it, so bring documentation to explain the science and support your experience.

BE PREPARED

A primary care physician with an understanding of your medical history is the best person to consult first about medical cannabis. However, we understand that not everyone has a regular doctor, and many physicians remain unfamiliar with the medical uses of cannabis or are afraid of getting in trouble.

 

In addition, some patients are concerned with their current health insurance company finding out about their use of medical cannabis. For these and other reasons, many patients consult one of the many doctors with a specialty practice in medical cannabis. 

BE HONEST

Be prepared to tell your doctor specifically what condition or symptoms you treat with cannabis therapeutics. If you have medical records related to the condition or symptoms, bring them.

 

Honestly describe how long you've had the problem, when you began treating with cannabis, the amount of cannabis you use, how often, and by what delivery method.

Some primary care physicians may say they are not the right person to talk to you about this. They may refer you to a neurologist, internal medicine specialist, or to a specialist who can best treat your medical condition. Patients For Safe Access recommends that you be just as prepared for those appointments. Bring information, as much information as you can, about cannabis as a treatment for your condition, as well as information about the laws for the physician.

Be a patient patient. It may take a few conversations with your physician until they feel comfortable recommending medical cannabis. Sometimes medical
practices create a policy that doctors in the practice cannot recommend medical cannabis.

There are three conditions covered under the governments Medical Cannabis Access Program:

  • Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis

  • Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy

  • Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.

More information about what cannabis based products are available on MCAP can be found here

Patients with conditions outside of these three may still get access to medical cannabis through a ministerial licence - a template for your doctor to apply for you can be downloaded here

However, with a ministerial licence, the costs are not covered by any government program. We suggest you email your local TD about this. 

BE PATIENT

Once you are using medical cannabis, make sure you’re talking to your doctor
about symptom relief you experience. As you are using cannabis, you may be
replacing or reducing other medications such as anti-inflammatories. Make sure that any changes you implement to your healthcare are under the guidance of a medical health professional. If you’re eliminating some of your medications, make certain that you and your medical professional have a plan to do this. Some medications require a weaning process of graduated titration to lower dosages for optimal patient safety. Also, some of the medications you are taking may have other properties, synergistic effects, or beneficial attributes than cannabis. Work in concert with your physician to make informed decisions about how cannabis interacts with the other medications and what the overall implications are for using cannabis in your healthcare regimen.