Medical Marijuana – Authorization
Professional Standards Regarding the Authorization of Marijuana for Medical Purposes
The College considers the authorization of marijuana for medical purposes to be comparable to prescribing medication. Authorizing a patient’s use of marijuana for medical purposes is a clinical decision. The College recommends that any such decision be informed by sound clinical evidence.
Physicians who authorize the use of medical marijuana by their patients are encouraged to stay abreast of guidance from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, as well as organizations such as the Canadian Medical Protective Association, as medico‐legal and professional concerns apply.
The College considers the authorization of marijuana for medical purposes to be a clinical act and an insured service.
- Physicians must not bill patients directly for services related to the authorization of marijuana for medical purposes, which includes the completion of any required forms;
- Physicians must only authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the context of a bona fide patient‐doctor relationship;
- Physicians must only authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes when in direct, in-person contact with their patients (This requirement is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorizingmarijuana for medical purposes can be done by way of virtual care. We would direct physicians to adhere to the College’s Professional Standards Regarding the Provision of Telemedicine Services);
- Physicians who authorize medical marijuana and are not the patient’s primary care physician, must notify the patient’s primary care physician; and
- Physicians must provide ongoing monitoring of the patient’s response to medical marijuana.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Approved by the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia: June 26, 2014
Revised: December 8, 2017
Revised and approved by the College’s Executive Committee: December 17, 2020
Approximate date of next review: 2023