Cannabis for the Hospitalized Patient: Best Practices Document

The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) is pleased to release “Cannabis for the Hospitalized Patient: Best Practices Document,” found here. You’ll discover essential tools to navigate this complex topic in your hospital: the suggested best practices for clinical assessment, access to cannabis and patient education, and an outline of the required hospital policies to support the care of patients who use cannabis at home. This document was developed to support CSHP’s recently released Position Statement on the use of cannabis for the hospitalized patient.  

As more Canadians are using recreational cannabis for medical purposes at home, patients can experience treatment interruptions from lack of access to cannabis when they are admitted to hospital. This best practices document will support practitioners as they care for patients who use cannabis at home. Before 2018, patients could only access cannabis for medical purposes with documentation from an authorized healthcare practitioner. The Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2018, allowing Canadians access to cannabis for medical and/or recreational purposes. Currently, most patients with medical authorization for cannabis can bring their own cannabis when they are admitted to hospital, except in Quebec where hospitals provide formulary cannabis. However, patients who access cannabis at home without obtaining medical authorization cannot currently continue their cannabis once admitted to hospital. CSHP’s best practices document offers evidence-based guidelines for treating patients in these circumstances.  

The best practices document was developed by CSHP’s Cannabis Task Force. CSHP gratefully acknowledges the contributions made by the Task Force members towards the development of this statement: 

  • Marlys LeBras (Chair)  

  • Isabelle Baltazar 

  • Diem Vo 

  • Vinay Phokeo 

  • Terri Betts                                                                                                

  • Heather Derrick  

  • Heather Parker 

  • Dania Scott 

  • Nancy Qiao 

  • Yifan Zhou 

  • Doug Doucette  

  • Jessica Robinson 

  • Christina Adams 

  • Jody Ciufo 

If you enjoyed reading the paper or have questions for your peers about how they manage cannabis in their hospital, please consider joining the Cannabis Pharmacy Specialty Network (PSN). PSNs are communities of CSHP members who share common professional practice interests. By design, they connect people and information from across Canada to promote practice excellence and the enhancement of patient-centred pharmacy practice. To register for the Cannabis PSN, click here, or log into your existing QID account and request to join the Cannabis PSN.   

Comments on the best practices document? Please email them to practice@cshp.ca