How to get a medical marijuana card in Canada

Canadians believe in the medicinal powers of medical marijuana. That’s why thousands of people are licensed by the federal government to possess and use medical cannabis anywhere in the country. Experts say it’s a safe alternative to treating various medical conditions without using pharmaceutical drugs.

In Canada, it’s legal to use and possess medical marijuana, as long as you have a license. New patients can obtain a license by applying through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

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Canada’s New Patients: Obtaining a Medical Cannabis Card

Medical marijuana laws in Canada are regulated by the ACMPR program. This puts the decision to use cannabis for medicinal purposes solely in the hands of the patient and his/her physician. Most Canadian medical clinics require that a patient’s diagnosis be no older than five years old. And, it must come from a physician practicing medicine within the country.

Medical Cannabis Card
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To be eligible, the patient’s condition must be monitored by a specialist or family doctor within the last year. There are multiple walk-in clinics with doctors who qualify to approve you for the program.

All related medical documents must be accessible for eligibility. This includes documentation for the walk-in clinic, records department, hospital, health care practitioner and physician who treated you for your qualifying condition. The medical documentation must confirm your diagnosis.

Who Decides If I’m Eligible for Canada’s ACMPR Program?

An authorized health care practitioner must access your ACMPR program eligibility. So, your medical records must be within a specific time frame. This is based on the professional’s discretion, which is generally based on the medical condition. The medical professional will then verify all of the documentation you provided.

Who Decides If I’m Eligible for Canada’s ACMPR Program
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What is an authorized health care practitioner? That would be someone who’s either a nurse practitioner or a physician. The one you choose must meet the requirements below:

  • Physician – Must be a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The membership must be in good standing. Must also hold a valid license issued by their local province/territory licensing authority. This must be the area where they practice medicine and hold a valid Class 1 narcotics license.
  • Nurse Practitioner – Canada medical marijuana laws now allow these medical professionals to authorize and sign prescriptions under ACMPR by Health Canada. This, experts say, will greatly benefit their clients, while enhancing their medical practices.

Speaking with Your Doctor to Obtain a Medical Cannabis Card in Canada

To obtain a medical marijuana card, the quickest option is to consult a physician who already knows your medical history. Make sure the doctor knows about any other therapies and treatments you’re considering, including the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Speaking with Your Doctor to Obtain a Medical Cannabis Card in Canada
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In some cases, people run into physicians who are unfamiliar with or simply don’t believe in the medicinal powers of cannabis. These doctors are often hesitant to prescribe the drug for conditions and symptoms to include in comprehensive treatment plans. When these situations arise, it’s vital that you act as your own advocate for medical marijuana:

  • Make a list of the various therapies and medications you’ve already tried
  • Identify which ones failed to effectively treat your symptoms and conditions
  • Offer some documentation that explains the science behind how cannabis could help
  • Clearly show how your symptoms could be managed better with the use of marijuana

Be sure to describe the symptoms you’re experiencing with complete accuracy. This will help the physician make a more educated decision about your case. The more information you provide, the better your chances of being approved to possess and use medical marijuana in Canada.

Questions to Have Answers to Before Seeing a Physician

Having answers to the following questions when you go to see a medical professional will increase your chances of obtaining a medical cannabis license:

Questions to Have Answers to Before Seeing a Physician
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  • How does the condition and its symptoms negatively affect your life?
  • What various conventional treatments have you already tried?
  • In what ways did those conventional treatments fail to do the job?
  • If granted an ACMPR license, how do you plan to use marijuana? (IE, smoking with papers, blunts or pipe, vaporizing, edibles, etc.…
  • If you already use cannabis for medicinal purposes, explain how much you use, how often, how it’s used and the way it affects you

If your doctor is unable to or won’t help you obtain a medical cannabis prescription, you have other options. Simply choose another physician to visit. This time, make sure the medical professional is also a medical cannabis specialist.

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Finding a “Green” Doctor in Canada

Multiple online networks assist with helping patients find medical cannabis-friendly physician’s in Canada. These networks are designed to help you gain access to the country’s medical marijuana program through Health Canada. Most offer a 3-step process to finding a physician and becoming a licensed patient:

  • Pre-qualify for the program online
  • Register for an evaluation online
  • Consult with a physician or nurse practitioner about your condition
Green Doctor in Canada
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Those who make it through the pre-qualification process may complete an online application to become a medical cannabis patient in Canada. You’ll then meet with a specialist, who will evaluate your condition to determine your eligibility into the program.

How to Obtain a License to Grow Medical Marijuana in Canada

ACMPR also allows licensed users to become registered medical marijuana growers within the country under Health Canada. This means they have the legal right to grow cannabis plants for the own personal medical use at their homes. There are limits to the amount of plants each individual may grow and produce.

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Once licensed, these medical cannabis growers may also cultivate the plants commercially, and operate as businesses. ACMPR allows for various types of growing licensed to be issued, allowing cultivators to legally grow marijuana in Canada.

There are currently 39 licensed producers (LP’s) legally operating under Canada’s ACMPR program. Of them, 23 have the legal right to sell medical cannabis directly to authorized patients.

TIP: Looking to buy seeds? Visit the ILGM marijuana seed shop

Click here for more information on Canada’s ACMPR medical marijuana home growing rules, and to register as a cultivator online.

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Mr Robert Bergman PhD


Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations ... See profile

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9 comments on “How to get a medical marijuana card in Canada”

  1. I’m 14 I have severe migraines and a sleeping problem am I eligible I’ve tried advil but my body doesn’t react well to pills and such I’ve smoked in the past and it helped

  2. Terrific writing on random topics. Im trying to currently
    accomplish something such as what you have here except for on
    a totally different topic. Thank you for the motivation to
    write better content.

  3. From what I read. you have to be a citizen of Canada… not a visitor ( see Denmark and others), have a condition ( reason for card), prove that condition, prove it helps that condition … etc . Read the words folks, it’s all there! With enbedded links… one click away in most cases… Just don’t go down the rabbit hole ! lol

  4. What happens when you doctor closes his practice and you cannot find another one.

  5. You wont need a card in late July or Aug of 2018 no matter where you are from as all marajuana will be legal to buy as long as you are over 18.

  6. Hi, I am a 100% combat disabled veteran with severe chronic pain in my neck and lower back. I also have 70% disability for PTSD with issues from insomnia to severe anxiety. I live in the USA but am planning to go to Canada this year. Would I be a candidate to get a medical card when in Canada?

  7. Hi,
    I will be travelling to Canada from Ireland for up to 24 months on the IEC program. I suffer from Epilepsy.
    Will I be able to qualify?