Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 2 2018 - Page 40

CANNABIS ACT Legalization may see more patients discuss marijuana use A s of October 17, Canadians will be able to consume marijuana recreationally without criminal penalties. With the bill to legalize and regulate marijuana now passed by Parliament, the prevalence of use may increase, and patients may be more open to sharing information about their use with health-care professionals. As such, physicians, as part of routine history- taking, may wish to ask their patients whether they use cannabis in the same manner that they ask about alcohol use and smoking. The Cannabis Act creates rules for producing, pos- sessing and selling recreational cannabis across Cana- da. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario will oversee the sale and distribution of recreational cannabis, with customers able to buy marijuana at the Ontario 40 DIALOGUE ISSUE 2, 2018 Cannabis Store, both online and in brick and mortar buildings. Patients with a prescription for medical cannabis, however, will still need to access their can- nabis through a licensed producer. The framework for medical access to cannabis – which is articulated in the College’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes policy – will remain the same. Physicians will still have primary responsibility for the decision to authorize patient use of marijuana for medi- cal purposes. Physicians enable patients to access a legal supply of marijuana by completing a medical document that functions like a conventional prescription. As with any emerging practice issue, the College’s expectation is that physicians will obtain the knowl- edge, skills and judgment needed to competently care for their patients. MD