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Cannabis - Information for Healthcare Providers

Either directly or indirectly, alcohol and drug use affects many Canadians. As a healthcare provider, you are in a unique position to make a big difference in the lives of your patients:

  • Ask about alcohol and/or other drug use
  • Advise on the short/long-term physical, mental, emotional and social risks
  • Assess readiness to make a change with their use
  • Assist in strategies to optimize their health and wellbeing in regards to alcohol and other drugs
  • Arrange for additional support

Key Documents/Best Practice Guidelines/References

Clearing the Smoke on Cannabis
This series, created by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), objectively looks at how marijuana use affects human functioning and development, and discusses implications for policy and practice. Prepared by expert researchers in the field and peer reviewed, this series of reports explores the impact of:

The series also reviews the evidence on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Effects of Youth Cannabis Use during Adolescence, is an online learning module based on CCSA’s comprehensive report of the same name, which brings together the best, most current research and identifies what we know, what we don’t know and what is emerging on the issue of youth cannabis use.
Using an interactive, digital format the module answers the following questions:

  • What are the effects of youth cannabis use on the brain and behaviour?
  • Is there a link between cannabis use and mental health?
  • Is cannabis addictive?
  • What interventions are available for cannabis use disorders?

Patient Handouts

  • Connex Ontario (1-800-565-8603) provides free, confidential health services for people living with substance use problems. A live operator is available 24/7 who can connect your patient with programs in your local community.
  • What’s With Weed Website – patient self quiz, check how you compare to others, risks and how to reduce them, links, and help.
  • Video Series - Teens and Substance Misuse – highlights information about talking to teens about alcohol and other drugs, factors that put teens at risk for alcohol and other drug use, signs of alcohol and other drug use in teens, risks for teens of using alcohol and other drugs, what to do if you suspect a teen is using alcohol or other drugs, setting boundaries and consequences for teens regarding substance use.

Point of Care Tools

Primary Care Addiction Toolkit
This practical reference has been created for healthcare providers who work in a primary care setting and who have patients with substance use problems. The toolkit addresses common clinical issues, as well as providing useful clinical tools and resources for patients.

The Primary Care Addiction Toolkit includes four modules:


Programs and Services

  • Connex Ontario
    Connex Ontario (1-800-565-8603) provides free, confidential health services for people living with substance use problems. A live operator is available 24 hours a day who can connect your patient with programs in your community.
  • Heartspace
    Heartspace, a program offered through Addiction Services of Thames Valley, is a specialized prevention, early identification, education, and treatment program for women who are pregnant, parenting and substance-involved and their children (prenatal – 6 years of age).
Date of creation: June 15, 2017
Last modified on: August 31, 2017