Updated on January 22, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Canada legalized recreational cannabis in June 2018 and will implement legal marijuana use for all adults in September 2018, but you can still benefit from joining their medical marijuana program. You may need medicine right away, or perhaps you want to take advantage of any extra benefits program members may get. Let’s talk about Canada’s medical marijuana program and how you can join it.
Canada is still working on its future recreational laws at the time of writing. But, there are some differences between the medical marijuana program and the proposed recreational laws. If these differences stay in place, medical marijuana patients could have some advantages over other Canadians.
Registered patients can use cannabis earlier and possess more marijuana at a time than non-registered people. While the proposed age for legal marijuana use is 21, the medical marijuana program accepts anyone 18 or older. The proposed regulations will let recreational users possess up to 30 grams of marijuana at a time, but registered patients can carry up to 150 grams, depending on their medical needs.
Signing up for Canada’s medical marijuana program involves a few simple steps.
All medical marijuana patients in Canada must periodically renew their program membership. Medical marijuana programs require patients to renew their memberships to account for any changes in condition.
In Canada, your doctor will determine how often you need to get a new registration form. On the medical document they need to fill out, they will set an amount of time in the area that states, “The period of use is  day(s) or  week(s) or  month(s).” They can let you use medical marijuana for up to one year.
Once that time runs out, you need to visit your practitioner again to have another form filled out. Simply follow the same steps you did when you initially signed up for the program.
When you renew, you should keep two things in mind:
Canada doesn’t require any extra training or certification for medical professionals to recommend medical marijuana. Instead, whether a practitioner can complete a medical document depends on their position and location.
You can get a completed registration from either a physician or a nurse practitioner. A physician in any province or territory can register patients — they have no location restrictions. But, nurse practitioners must practice in a province or territory where they can legally recommend medical marijuana.
Although they don’t provide any medicinal cannabis courses for medical professionals, Health Canada does offer online resources to guide them. You can find them on the Health Canada website.
Canada doesn’t offer an official list of practitioners willing to recommend medical marijuana. But, you can schedule an appointment with your general practitioner to see if they’re willing to complete the medical registration for you. Check out our resource library for information on medical marijuana that can help guide your discussion.