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How to Register as a Medical Cannabis Patient in Canada

August 9, 2017
Canada’s imminent legalization is just over the horizon, but for many Canadians seeking relief, it’s not soon enough. The country’s medical marijuana system has been revamped and improved upon several times in the past 15 years since the law was implemented, and now may be a better time than ever to get registered with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes program.

Below are steps you can take to register as a valid medical marijuana patient in Canada.


5 Differences Between the United States’ and Canada’s Medical Cannabis Programs

Step 1: Contact Your Healthcare Practitioner

First, it’s crucial to talk to your regular physician about your symptoms, treatment options, and the possibility of cannabis as an alternative treatment option.

The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Canada are as follows:

  • Severe refractory nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy
  • Loss of appetite and body weight in cancer patients and patients with HIV/AIDS
  • Pain and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic non-cancer pain (neuropathic)
  • Severe refractory cancer-associated pain
  • Insomnia and depressed mood associated with chronic diseases
  • Symptoms encountered in palliative or end-of-life care
  • Other symptoms or conditions authorized by your health care practitioner

Cannabinoids 101: What Makes Cannabis Medicine?

Step 2: Healthcare Practitioner Completes Authorization Form

Once you and your physician have concluded that medical cannabis would be beneficial for your ailments, they must fill out an authorization form with the following information.

Patient Information:

  • Patient’s given name and surname
  • Patient’s date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • Daily quantity of dried marijuana to be used by the patient (grams / day)
  • Period of use in days, weeks, and/or months (Note: the period of use cannot exceed one year)

Health Care Practitioner Information:

  • Health care practitioner’s given name and surname
  • Health care practitioner’s profession/medical specialty
  • Health care practitioner’s business address
  • Full business address of the location at which the patient consulted the health care practitioner (if different than above)
  • Phone number
  • Fax number (if applicable)
  • Email address (if applicable)
  • Province(s) authorized to practice in
  • Health care practitioner’s license number
  • Health care practitioner’s signature and date signed (DD/MM/YYYY)

Patients are allowed to possess up to a 30-day supply of cannabis, depending on the recommendation of their healthcare practitioner, or up to 150 grams per month.


A Guide to Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program

Step 3: Choose a Licensed Producer (or Method of Access)

Once you receive your authorization form, you must make a decision. You may choose from one of over 50 licensed producers across Canada, all of whom are authorized to provide cannabis to you via mail. These producers have been carefully selected to produce cannabis to the highest standards, but cannabis cultivation can be a very personal process.

Due to a recent Canadian Federal Court of Appeals ruling, medical marijuana patients in Canada are now permitted to produce their own cannabis, should they so choose. If you prefer growing cannabis at home or wish to designate someone to produce it for you, you may apply for a personal production license.

However, please note that you may only choose one method of access, meaning you can’t choose a licensed producer to send you cannabis in addition to growing your own at home.


Canadian Judge Declares Home Medical Cultivation Legal

For Patients Who Choose Licensed Producers

You must submit your authorization form (or you may have your healthcare practitioner submit the document for you), as well as a registration form specifically for the licensed producer of your choice. Registration forms are available on the website of a licensed producer or by contacting them directly. Licensed producers provide dried cannabis flower, fresh marijuana, and cannabis oils. There are more than 50 licensed producers to choose from, and you may find the updated list available on the Health Canada website here.

If you decide to switch licensed producers, you will need a new medical marijuana authorization form from your healthcare practitioner. You must cancel your registration with your current licensed producer and contact the new licensed producer to create a new registration with your updated authorization form.

For Patients Who Choose to Produce Cannabis at Home

Submit your authorization form to Health Canada (or you may have your healthcare practitioner submit your authorization form for you), and designate yourself or another to produce cannabis for your medicinal needs. You may grow up to 150 grams per month (or a 30-day supply, as recommended by your physician), and you may contact a licensed producer to procure seedlings or clones to start your growing operation. You may be required to register with a licensed producer to gain access to seedlings or immature marijuana plants.

Lisa Rough's Bio Image

Lisa Rough

Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.

View Lisa Rough's articles

  • Canadian1969

    sorry for duplicate post, removed

  • Canadian1969

    From first hand experience: this is nowhere as easy as this article makes it seem. First gatekeeper is your Doctor, right off the bat they will say no, unless you are literally on deaths doorstep. They are doing the whole CYA thing. Then IF you are lucky enough to have a family physician who will go out on a limb for you and agree to prescribe it, you better keep your mouth shut about it. They are totally afraid of becoming Dr. Pot and having every friggin looser in town calling his/her office.

    Then IF you have made it this far, and you aren’t about to die; you just have to follow up constantly with your Doctor. He/She will relax a bit after a year or so. You need to read between the lines a bit with your physician. They definitely need feedback from Cannabis patients 100%. They just aren’t sure or they are still back in the 1980’s “just say no” mentality and all you will get is a referral to addiction counseling and a Doctor that now thinks you are a junkie.

    If you were right off the hop roadblocked at your Doctors, you are pretty much screwed. The only other option is to go to a Clinic (mobile or brick and mortar). Here they will extort at least $300 out of you for the privilege of filling out paperwork and seeing one of “their” Doctors. I know right, sick people have lots of money to waste, wait whats special about “their” Doctors? [rhetorical]

    At this point you are simply buying a medical cannabis license. They are horrible people running these clinics and they should be ashamed of themselves. If this is the only way to get your medicine, then I guess you just have to suck it up. Be prepared for followup appointments too, the clinic aren’t everywhere so transportation is needed, pretty hard for some sick and elderly people. Clinics may provide value to some people, but we live in Canada where our healthcare system is designed to start at your family Doctor. Not in some rat hole on Front St. or in an RV talking about your health with someone whose last job was in a Tim Hortons…. IMFHO

    Stay away from the LPs , they make poisonous crap, definitely do not buy seedlings or clones from an LP, you would have to be insane. Seeds from the very good strains are available online for $10/seed or less. Want to know how to grow quality medicine, talk to the masters who have been doing it illegally for decades, not the 22 year old fresh out of College who just got hired as a master grower at the latest corner cannabis startup. Laughable really.

    In any event if you are going for a medical license you are in for months of acrobatic hoop jumping. So how is Canada doing on the providing safe access front? I give them a 4 out of 10. We still have a LONG LONG way to go. Until the insurance companies are forced to cover it I do not think we will see any movement from the Doctors that isn’t legislated. This was just my experience and maybe it was anomalous, but I somehow doubt it.

    • Turner Kayston

      Well said, well written and I cannot agree more with you!

      You should consider writing up an article, seriously… =)

      As for the pesticides, have you seen Freddie Pritchard’s list or better yet, his open letter to ‘Health Canada’ for their (currently) 17 approved sprays and all their ingredients? OMFG, it’s ghastly to say the least! And to think, they export this LP chemical infused crap… sick.

      None of which have been tested for human consumption, when heated or smoked, that I know of.

      • Canadian1969

        Thanks man, wasn’t really trying to show off or anything, I do appreciate the compliment though, thanks again. That article just reeeeallly got under my skin. I had to repost it like 20 times until the censors gave up. leafy needs to do better

      • Canadian1969

        More awake now lol… yeah the pesticides, I know, I am appalled and just frankly dont know what to think anymore. I have waited decades for this, I have done prison time for this, and the government is going to do it every wrong way first before we get it right. I feel so tired these days.

        Like this but I am the monkey and the card is legalization.

      • Canadian1969

        I had a witty reply on the pesticide thing, but again leafy moderators are actually censors. I give up.

  • Keith Dorman

    Very poor, useless article written by likely an American who doesn’t understand the Canadian system. Most doctors in Canada will NOT prescribe medical cannabis because they are specifically advised not to do so by the Canadian Medical Association which oversees, regulates all doctors in Canada.

    In rare cases a good enough relationship with your doctor and their willingness to prescribe cannabis might get you a prescription but in all likelihood you will need to go to a cannabis clinic like Bodystream, or Canadian Cannabis Clinics, or a similar clinic which has medical doctor’s either on site or through teleconference who are familiar with and open to prescribing medical cannabis.

    Most clinics you can self refer to or you can get a referral from your doctor. Some are completely covered by your provincial health plan while others have fees. This is how the vast majority of Canadians attain a legal medical Cannabis prescription.

    Secondly the current ACMPR medical cannabis system technically allows for any condition to qualify that your doctor sees fit. Usually you will have had to tried and failed conventional treatment options for your medical condition first before being considered for medical cannabis.

    Once you have a prescription you can choose which liscensed producer to go with in which to buy your cannabis from. You can legally have a prescription with mulitple liscensed producers at the same time but require a seperate prescription for each one. This basically boils down to finding a doctor who is willing to prescribe more than one prescription to allow you the choice of cannabis from more than one liscensed producer at a time. has a list on their website of all the cannabis clinics across Canada that have cannabis friendly doctors who will actually write you a prescription for medical cannabis.