On April 1, 2014, changes to Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Program came into effect. The new program, Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, involved changes to the authorization, production, and distribution of marijuana for medical use that will impact health providers and patients.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association shares the position of the Canadian Medical Association that "there is insufficient scientific evidence available to support the use of marijuana for clinical purposes," and that "there is insufficient evidence on clinical risks and benefits, including the proper dosage of marijuana to be used and on the potential interactions between this drug and other medications."

As most physicians don't know the pharmacology of marijuana, they will avoid prescribing this substance. Those physicians who choose to prescribe marijuana should be aware of the regulations and requirements and use the resources below to educate themselves on the obligations of physicians.

What this means for physicians:

  • You are not obligated to authorize the use of marijuana by patients.
  • The medical conditions and symptoms under which health care practitioners can support the use of marijuana for medical purposes have not changed.
  • You may be asked questions by your patients about the program changes.
  • Some provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons are developing policy and practice standards specific to authorization of medical marijuana. Consult your College for more information regarding its policies and guidance.
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association provides guidance on liability issues as they relate to medical marijuana.