It has now been a full two years since the Federal ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) was introduced by the Canadian Government. This regulation allowed access to and the legal use of cannabis for relief of symptoms due to medical conditions. For anyone well-informed about the medical benefits of cannabis and those pushing for it to become legalized, this was quite a milestone. Canadian cannabis clinics wasted no time opening their doors and providing patients with an all-natural and effective therapeutic treatment for their medical needs.
Despite the looming legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17, interest in how to get a medical marijuana prescription continues to be strong. People who turn to marijuana for medical treatment may feel that it is in their best interest to continue to acquire their medical marijuana under their doctor’s guidance through a prescription.
Today we’ll talk about how to get a prescription for medical cannabis in Canada, as well as provide an overview of how the access to cannabis for medical purposes regulations are designed to limit access to those who need it through Canadian cannabis clinics.
Read through to find out more about the ACMPR and how to get a prescription for medical cannabis in Canada. Keep in mind that once legalization occurs it will likely be that Canadian cannabis clinics will come to be referred as a ‘shop’ instead.
Medical Marijuana Prescription Issuer Qualifications
To be eligible for a medicinal marijuana card in Canada you must have a prior diagnosis made by a practicing Canadian physician within the last 5 years. Also, the original diagnosis must have been followed by a monitoring visit to a family doctor or specialist within the past year.
If you don’t have have a family doctor, you can visit a walk-in clinic and meet with an authorized health care practitioner and have them diagnose your symptoms. The practitioner can be either a physician or nurse practitioner, as nurses are newly eligible to sign the ACMPR prescription as mandated by Health Canada.
Physicians must meet the following requirements:
- In good standing with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada
- Holding valid license from the licensing authority in the province / territory they work in
- Holding a valid narcotics class 1 license
All related medical documents must be accessible for eligibility. You must have documentation for the walk-in clinic, records department, and a signed document from the physician or health care practitioner.
Do not attempt to enter Canadian cannabis clinics without having seen a qualified physician first. They are forbidden by law to sell product to anyone without a medical marijuana prescription and you will be denied in any attempt to make purchases if you are unable to present an ACMPR card to them.
Visiting Canadian Cannabis Clinics
It is also important to understand that nearly every doctor or nurse practitioner that is qualified to provide you with your prescription will be equipped to be on the lookout for those looking to exploit the opportunity to acquire marijuana for recreational purposes.
As a legitimate relief seeker, you can further help your cause by coming into your initial or follow-up consultations fully prepared.
Be prepared to be able to answer the following questions truthfully and thoroughly:
- How is the medical condition and its symptoms negatively affecting your life? Do you find the symptoms to be debilitating? If so, be able to describe how they debilitate you in detail
- What, if any, various conventional treatments have you tried already. Are you certain you followed the given administering protocol for each of them exactly as recommended by the manufacturer (pharmaceuticals) or SMEs (subject matter experts – therapies)
- How did those treatments fail to be effective for you? Be able to be specific
- If you receive an ACMPR license, how do you plan to use medical marijuana? (how will you be ingesting it)
- If you already use cannabis for medicinal purposes, be prepared to discuss how much you use, how often you use it, and how it affects you
In some rare instances it may be that you cannot find a qualified health care provider who will issue a medical marijuana prescription despite you being a legitimate candidate for one. There can be any number of reasons for this, but most commonly it’s that the doctor has his own preconceptions about the impropriety of prescribing medical cannabis.
While that is unfortunate, there are multiple online networks that assist with helping patients find medical cannabis-friendly physicians in Canada. Typically, they involve a 3-step process; pre-qualifying for the program online, registering for an online evaluation, and then consulting with a qualified AND receptive physician or nurse practitioner about your condition.
Not to worry, becoming an authorized patron of Canadian cannabis clinics isn’t as daunting a prospect as it might seem. If you are genuinely in need of a remedy to an illness or condition for which cannabis may be legitimately helpful then you should have little difficulty getting a medical marijuana prescription that will entitle you to receive your ACMPR card.
Of course, once in possession of the card you have a responsibility to use it for procurement of medicinal marijuana for yourself only. Abuse of it with the intent to offer marijuana for resale will continue to be a violation of the law and will come with penalties should you be caught doing so.