Medical Cannabis and Saskatchewan Patients
NOTE: The CPSS does not keep lists of healthcare providers who prescribe medical cannabis.
It is important for patients and their healthcare providers to understand the risks, implications and steps required surrounding the use of medical cannabis in Saskatchewan.
Health Canada Disclaimer (on its website):
"Cannabis is not an approved therapeutic product, unless a specific cannabis product has been issued a drug identification number (DIN) and a notice of compliance (NOC). The provision of this information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the use of this product, or cannabis and cannabinoids generally, by Health Canada."
Source: Health Canada
The CPSS, The Canadian Medical Association, The College of Family Physicians of Canada, and The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada all have similar concerns.
Obtaining a Prescription for Medical Cannabis
How to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis
The College does not keep a list of healthcare providers who prescribe cannabis for medical purposes.
- 1. Meet with your primary healthcare provider to discuss whether medical cannabis could treat your symptoms. Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, conduct an appropriate physical examination and may require you to undergo medical testing to assess your condition.
- 2. Your primary healthcare provider may decide to prescribe medical cannabis as a treatment for your condition (or, he or she may recommend a different course of treatment).
- 3. To comply with the College’s bylaw, you will be asked to sign a treatment agreement outlining your medical and legal responsibilities regarding your prescription for medical cannabis.
- 4. Your primary treating healthcare provider will complete and sign the medical document(s) in order for you to access your prescription for medical cannabis from your choice of providers (unless you choose to produce for your own medical purposes, in which case it is sent to Health Canada).
NOTE: Your Physician is not obliged to provide you with a prescription for Medical Cannabis. The decision to prescribe medical Cannabis is at the discretion of the physician, and the College expects that physicians act in the best interest of the patient when deciding if this type of treatment is appropriate or not.
Purchasing or producing cannabis for medical purposes
The Canadian Government’s regulations related to medical cannabis allow you, to obtain medical cannabis in one of three ways:
- 1. Obtaining medical cannabis from a licensed commercial provider;
a. The patient will choose a provider from Health Canada's list of approved medical cannabis providers.
b. The patient will complete the approved provider's Registration Application Form.
c. Once the patient has an account set up with his approved licensed provider, and has a prescription from his healthcare provider, he or she will be able to purchase medical cannabis only from this provider, in accordance with the authorized amount of the prescription.
d. The patient will receive a Registration Document (certificate and/or wallet-sized card). The Registration Document is proof of official registration as a medical cannabis patient and must be carried to present.
e. If the patient wishes to change provider or split a prescription, the registration with the former provider should be cancelled. A new medical documents sent to each of the new providers of the patient's choice, with the appropriate dosage from each source indicated on the form by your physician.
- 2. Registering with Health Canada to produce a limited amount of cannabis for your own medical purposes; or,
- 3. Registering with Health Canada to designate someone else to produce the cannabis for you.
In all three cases, a medical prescription from your healthcare provider is necessary. The prescription must specify the prescribed maximum daily quantity allowed.
Potential side effects and cautions while using medical cannabis
Health Canada states that “using cannabis or any cannabis product can impair your concentration, your ability to think and make decisions, and your reaction time and coordination. This can affect your motor skills, including your ability to drive. It can also increase anxiety and cause panic attacks, and in some cases cause paranoia and hallucinations.” See Health Canada General Warnings.
“Although no studies have been carried out to date examining the effects of cannabis or psychoactive cannabinoid exposure on psychomotor performance in individuals using these substances solely for medical purposes, it is well known that exposure to such substances impairs psychomotor performance and patients must be warned not to drive or operate complex machinery after smoking or eating cannabis or consuming psychoactive cannabinoid medications (e.g. dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols).” Adverse Reactions to Cannabis
The Saskatchewan Government has published a webpage on Cannabis and Driving and Health Canada has a page entitled Don't Drive High.
More information is available in the following document published by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to help guide employers in managing employees using medical cannabis: Workplace Strategies: Risk of Impairment from Cannabis