Skip to main content

Oct 2018

Non-Medical Cannabis


Preventing and reducing cannabis use-related harms and risks are top-of-mind when it comes to the legalization of cannabis. Through screening, assessment and discussion with patients, primary care providers play an important role in harm reduction.

The Non-Medical Cannabis Resource is designed to equip primary care providers with evidence-based, balanced information to discuss cannabis use, its associated risks and benefits with their patients, and to screen for cannabis use disorder and related problems.

Share resource


About the tool

The Non-Medical Cannabis Resource outlines an approach for detecting, discussing and managing potential harms through the following three sections:

  • Section A: Screening for cannabis use
  • Section B: Harm reduction and patient counselling
  • Section C: Benefits/harms for patients using cannabis

The Non-Medical Cannabis Resource aims to assist primary care providers in discussing non-medical cannabis use with their patients in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Screening questions have been provided to help ascertain the cannabis use of their patients. Primary care providers will also find helpful talking points regarding cannabis-related harms and benefits, harm reduction techniques and risk factors for special populations.

Through evidence-based and balanced information about non-medical cannabis use, primary care providers can assist their patients in making informed decisions about initiating or continuing cannabis use.

The Non-Medical Cannabis Resource was developed by the CEP under the clinical leadership of Dr. Jonathan Bertram. The CEP engaged a clinical working group, experts, stakeholders and policy makers to ensure that the resource included all relevant information for primary care providers.

The Non-Medical Cannabis Resource is one of several resources developed as part of the Knowledge Translation in Primary Care Initiative. This multi-year initiative was a collaboration between the Centre for Effective Practice (CEP), Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP), and Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO). Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, this initiative supported primary care providers with the development of a series of clinical tools and health information resources. Learn more about the Knowledge Translation in Primary Care Initiative.

The Centre for Effective Practice enlisted the collaboration of the following clinical leadership throughout the development of the Non-Medical Cannabis Resource:

Clinical leads

  • Jonathan Bertram

    MD, CCFP

    Dr. Jonathan Bertram is a a Focused Practice Addictions & Pain Medicine Physician. He has special interests in working with Older Adults, Aboriginal Affairs, and Mental Health/Addictions in Primary Care. A Clinical Lecturer at the University of Toronto and a member of the Board of Directors at the Ontario College of Family Physicians, he is currently practicing Addictions Medicine at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto and running a Community Practice in Pain/Addictions Consultation & Shared Care co-located with the Bowmanville Family Health Organization. He is a consultant physician in Older Adult Addictions for COPA (Community Outreach Programs in Addiction) through Reconnect Mental Health Services and has been a part of the Substance Use/Geriatric Addictions Collaborative since its inception. He is also a part of CAMH’s Aboriginal Engagement & Outreach Initiative. His work in Older Adults includes a Health Canada Grant for the generation of Substance Use Disorder Guidelines for Older Adults.

Clinical Working Group

A clinical working group oversaw the development of this resource. 

Members include:

  • Sharon Cirone, MD, FCFPC
  • Arun Radhakrishnan, MSc, MD, CM CCFP

Thank you to all of our members for their valuable input in the development of this resource.

Conflict of interest

The clinical lead received compensation for his role. 

Clinical working group members received an honorarium for their participation.

Focus group and usability participants received a small token of appreciation (e.g. gift certificate).

Expert Reviewers

This site uses cookies to improve visitor experience and functioning. By scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies. Please consult your browser settings (and browser plugins) to configure whether and how you receive cookies.