Update on medicinal cannabis use in Canada

Jan 3, 2024

Health Canada published updated data on cannabis use for medical purposes in 2023, looking at usage and prescription patterns amongst other things. The Canadian government originally granted access to medical cannabis to individuals diagnosed with severe illnesses that could not be managed using conventional therapies in 2001. Subsequently, in 2018, the recreational use of cannabis became legalized in Canada. 

Data on medical client registrations

According to the update, medical client registrations with federally licensed sellers decreased by 4% from 213,099 in March 2023 to 203,804 in June 2023.

In addition, the number of individuals registered with Health Canada for personal and designated cultivation of cannabis for their own medical purposes also decreased by 12% from 19,076 in March 2023 to 16,778 in June 2023.

The majority of registrations for personal/designated cannabis production were from Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.

Data on daily amounts authorized by health care practitioners

The update shows that the majority of individuals who access cannabis for medical purposes under the Cannabis Act and its regulations obtain quality-controlled cannabis from a federally licensed seller of cannabis for medical purposes.  Moreover, the average daily amount of cannabis authorized by health care practitioners for individuals who access cannabis from federally licensed sellers has remained at 2 grams per day since 2018.

 It was also found that the average daily amount authorized by health care practitioners for individuals who are registered with Health Canada for personal or designated production was 34 grams per day.

There were 5,394 health care practitioners associated with registrations made in the previous 12 months with federally licensed sellers.

Furthermore, there were 1,089 health care practitioners associated with active personal/designated production registrations, 243 of whom authorized amounts equal to or above 25 grams per day, and 18 practitioners authorized amounts equal to or above 100 grams per day.

Finally, the data shows that the majority of health care practitioners authorizing cannabis amounts equal to or above 25 grams per day were located in British Columbia and Ontario, and all health care practitioners authorizing amounts equal to or above 100 grams per day were located in these two provinces.