Marihuana for Medical Purposes

Category: Medical Practice
Under Review: No
Issued by Council: April 3, 2014

Health Canada has approved the use of marihuana for medical purposes. Physicians have the choice to treat or not to treat their patient’s medical condition or symptom(s) with marihuana.

  1. A physician who chooses not to treat patient’s medical condition or symptom(s) with marihuana should do so in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Moral or Religious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care standards of practice.
  2. A physician who chooses to treat patients with marihuana must:
    1. register with the College as an authorizer of marihuana for medical purposes,
    2. attempt and find conventional therapies ineffective in treating the patient’s medical condition or symptom(s),
    3. assess the patient’s risk of addiction using a standard addiction risk tool,
    4. receive informed consent in accordance with the Informed Consent standard of practice,
    5. review available prescription databases, including the Pharmacy Information Network (PIN) and the Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP) to obtain a patient medication profile,
    6. comply with provincial and federal regulations, including Health Canada’s Information for Health Care Professionals, and
    7. complete a patient’s medical document.
  3. A patient’s medical document must include the:
    1. patient’s
      1. given name and surname,
      2. date of birth, and
      3. personal health care number,
    2. physician’s
      1. registration number,
      2. given name and surname,
      3. business address and telephone number, and
      4. facsimile number and email,
    3. address of the location at which the physician treated the patient,
    4. medical condition or symptom(s) marihuana is treating,
    5. daily quantity of marihuana to be used by the patient expressed in grams,
    6. period of use specified as a number of weeks or months (not to exceed one year) beginning on the day the patient’s medical document is signed, and
    7. physician’s signature and date of signing.
  4. A physician completing a patient medical document must:
    1. evaluate the patient on a regular basis to determine the benefits and risks of marihuana as treatment for the medical condition or symptom(s) stated in the patient medical document,
    2. at minimum see the patient every three months following stabilization [1],
    3. provide ongoing care to the patient for the underlying medical condition or symptom(s) for which marihuana is the treatment, including a process to identify misuse or abuse of marihuana,
    4. provide the College with a copy of the patient’s medical document within one (1) week of completing the medical document.
  5. A physician must not:
    1. dispense or provide marihuana to any patient or person, or
    2. apply to become a licensed producer of marihuana.

[1] The stabilization phase is defined by the use of a stable amount, medical condition or symptom(s) relief and reasonable confidence that no misuse is occurring.

The CPSA Standards of Practice are the minimum standards of professional behaviour and ethical conduct expected of all physicians registered in Alberta. Standards of practice are enforceable under the Health Professions Act and will be referenced in the management of complaints and in discipline hearings. About the CPSA Standards of Practice


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