FACT SHEET: Cannabis for Medical Purposes

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On August 24, 2016, the federal government released the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The regulations outline how Canadians can access and possess cannabis and its derivatives to help manage the symptoms associated with a variety of disorders and conditions. The CLPNA has developed a FACT Sheet to let LPNs know how the ACMPR may impact their practice: “Cannabis for Medical Purposes – The Role of The Licensed Practical Nurse in Alberta”.

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The FACT Sheet provides a snapshot of information on how to determine if a client is authorized to possess marihuana, an overview of common routes of marihuana consumption, dosing information, side effects, and the direction to review any organizational policies on cannabis for medical purposes that exist in their practice setting.

This area of practice requires the LPN to undertake a significant amount of caution and care. Unauthorized possession of cannabis and its derivatives is forbidden by federal law, with an offence resulting in a fine and/or jail. Therefore, before providing assistance, the LPN must confirm the client has valid authorization to possess cannabis for medical purposes and only handle cannabis and any derivatives for the sole purpose of providing assistance to the client.

In Alberta, a client must seek permission to access and possess cannabis from an authorized physician. Clients may obtain cannabis or derivatives from licensed producers, or register with Health Canada to 1) produce their own, or 2) name someone to produce it for them. Once a client is authorized and has obtained cannabis in one of the above three ways, an LPN may be asked to help that client administer cannabis for medical purposes. Cannabis derivatives may include fresh and dried marihuana, cannabis oil, and various licensed products such as edible and topical goods.

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Questions? Contact CLPNA’s Practice Consultants at practice@clpna.com, 780-484-8886 or 1-800-661-5877 (toll free in Alberta).