Article by Ivy Jackson, Lift News
Getting a legal marijuana prescription can seem daunting if you don’t know where to start. It might feel like you have to prove something to your family doctor, despite having tried every other option to relieve your pain/anxiety/sleep disorder/PTSD/etc. But if you want to explore cannabis treatment, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) allows you to do so safely, legally and under a doctor’s care.
“If you want to legally access medical cannabis right now, the only way to do that is to get a prescription from a medical doctor or nurse practitioner who is trained to understand your specific concerns,” says Gill Pollard, marketing director at Lift Centre, a resource centre that helps patients navigate the medical cannabis system.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to getting a legal marijuana prescription in Canada, and what to expect once you have it.
Book an appointment with your family doctor
Is cannabis the right treatment for you? Your family physician should help you make an informed decision on whether or not the effects (and, yes, side effects) of medical marijuana will actually alleviate your symptoms. “[Step one is] seeing your physician to explore whether medical cannabis is an appropriate treatment option for you,” says Pollard.
If your primary doctor rejects your initial request, there are other avenues
Don’t feel discouraged. A second opinion, like everything related to your health, is always a good idea. “You can make an appointment at a clinic, like Lift Resource Centre, and speak to one of our specially trained nurse educators who will pre-qualify you,” says Pollard. From there, you’d go on to meet with a physician from the Lift Resource Centre. You can also check out Lift’s list of medical marijuana doctors and clinics in Canada.
If consulting a doctor sends you into a cold sweat, spend time before your appointment writing down your health issues and concerns. Nothing calms the nerves like a good list.
Get the right documents signed, sealed and delivered
Once you’ve been given the green light, by law your doctor must provide a document (like this one found on the Government of Canada’s website) with obvious things like your full name and birthdate, as well as more important details like the name and address of your doctor, their license number, as well as the number of grams of marijuana per day you’ve been prescribed. The number of days, weeks or months you can take it will also be included. “If [your] prescription was written by a licensed Canadian medical doctor, it is valid,” says Pollard.