Right now, the only legal way to buy medical cannabis is through a medical document completed by your doctor or health care practitioner (HCP) and provided to a licensed producer (LP). But there are currently 80 authorized LPs to choose from — how do you decide? As a licensed producer, we hope this article arms you with the knowledge you’ll need to make the decision that’s best for you.

1. COMFORT

Ordering medical cannabis for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. How do you register? What do you say to your doctor? How do you choose the right product to try? It might sound like a lot, but it’s much easier than you think. That’s where a licensed producer’s website and client care team come in.

Many LP websites have a list of frequently asked questions, as well as background information on the company and what they stand for. But picking up the phone and talking to a producer’s support team can really be effective when trying to decide who you should choose. Make sure you don’t feel rushed and that any questions you ask are answered thoroughly. You should feel comfortable, heard, and taken care of.

2. POLICIES

From pricing and shipping to veterans’ assistance, it’s important you know as much as possible about a producer’s policies and other programs.

For shipping, how quickly are orders fulfilled and how long will it take to receive your order? With free shipping, what’s the order minimum?

If you have a low income or are on disability, do they offer discounts in the form of a compassionate care program? If so, are you able to order any product, or are there restrictions?

For much more about policies and programs, check out the link to our companion piece at the end.

3. TRANSPARENCY

When we crowdsourced input for this article, one common response we received was that a licensed producer should be as transparent as possible about their products, growing method, and internal processes.

This includes detailed cannabinoid and external testing statistics for strains, as well as explicit detail about how they grow their cannabis and their quality control process. If you come across organic cannabis, make sure to ask a producer how they define organic.

In any case, you’re looking for as pure of a product as possible, free of any harmful pesticides, chemicals or bacteria, grown in a way that produces consistent results time after time. 

4. A MATCH

Most of all, it’s crucial that once you’ve established what your specific needs are, you find a producer that matches (and meets) them.

For example, you might have been recommended a strain from one LP by a friend, but another LP has an oil you’d like to try — and that’s just fine!

You might be told otherwise, but you can absolutely ask to split your prescription between two (or even three) licensed producers if there are different types of medical cannabis you’d like to try.

Remember, the more you can learn and teach yourself about medical cannabis, the more empowered you’ll be when making your decision.

Green Relief is a licensed producer of medical cannabis under Health Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

For an extended version of this article and to learn more, head to https://www.greenrelief.ca/blog/choosing-acmpr-licensed-producer.