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  • Legalizing Cannabis: What Does it Mean for Physiotherapists?

    Nov 13, 2018

    As you are most likely aware, the use of recreational marijuana (cannabis) became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.

    So, what does that mean for you as a physiotherapist? In a word… nothing. However, there are some things you may want to consider.

    No Smoking Polices

    The same no smoking policies apply whether it’s tobacco or cannabis. If you don’t already have a policy in place, you may want to develop one.

    According to the law, people are not permitted to smoke cannabis or tobacco:

    • Within nine metres from the entrance or exit of hospitals, psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, independent health facilities.
    • On outdoor grounds of hospitals and psychiatric facilities.
    • In non-controlled areas in long-term care homes, certain retirement homes, provincially-funded supportive housing, designated psychiatric or veterans' facilities, and residential hospices.

    Scent-Free Policies

    If you have a scent-free policy and the person smells strongly of cannabis, do the same thing you would do if they were wearing a strong-smelling perfume or smelled of tobacco—ask them to wash the scent off and refrain from wearing it in future. In the case of smoking, they may need to change their clothing.

    Incorporating It into PT Practice

    Remember, physiotherapists can’t recommend, sell, administer or prescribe drugs, including cannabis (except under delegation). If your patient is considering cannabis as a treatment adjunct, refer them to an appropriate professional who can recommend or prescribe. Note that only doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe medical marijuana.  

    Refusing Treatment

    What if your patient shows up for treatment and is high?

    Simple—do the same thing you’d do if they showed up drunk and were either not capable of providing consent or treatment would be risky to them in their condition—refuse treatment.

    Every time someone arrives for an appointment, you need to decide if the person can provide consent. You start by assuming that they’re capable, unless the person is obviously impaired. 

    If the person is obviously impaired by drugs (including cannabis) or alcohol, inform them that you’re unable to provide treatment because you believe that they’re impaired and document the facts (unable to treat because of suspected impaired judgement) in your records. Reschedule and ask that they refrain from drinking or smoking before their next appointment.

    Physios Indulging

    Just like any other extra curricular activities you may choose to take part in outside of work, if you decide to use cannabis in your off hours you must ensure that you are in no way impaired when providing treatment to patients.

    Human Rights

    What if your patient uses cannabis medicinally rather than recreationally?

    Regardless of why they’re using, if they’re not capable of consenting because their judgment is impaired, you should refuse treatment. Be sure to be respectful and non-judgmental in your communication, and remember, cannabis use does not necessarily result in impaired judgement.

    More About Consent

    Providing and Refusing Care Standard


    Full story
    • treatment
    • Consent
    • physiotherapy
    • legalization
    • cannabis
    • blog
  • Supervising Physiotherapy Residents: An Important and Rewarding Role

    Oct 19, 2018
    Peter Ruttan, registered physiotherapist and Investigator at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, blogs about the responsibilities of a Practice Supervisor when working with Physiotherapy Residents.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • investigator
    • Peter Ruttan
    • Ontario
    • College of Physiotherapists
    • physiotherapy residents
    • supervision
    • practice supervisor
  • What I Learned from the College: Top Tips for New Physiotherapists

    Sep 17, 2018
    Guest blogger and PT student Ian Winningham shares what he learned during his clinical placement at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
    Full story
    • record keeping
    • accounts
    • billing
    • fees
    • physiotherapist
    • student
    • blog
  • What’s Your Piece of #MeToo?

    Aug 23, 2018
    A blog from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario's Registrar, Shenda Tanchak, discussing the importance of boundaries between physiotherapists and patients, in the wake of the Me Too movement.
    Full story
    • me too
    • patient
    • physiotherapist
    • Boundaries
  • Creating a Discussion: More than Just a Checked Box

    Jul 24, 2018
    Elizabeth Leung, a physiotherapy student who is doing a placement at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, blogs about the importance of consent in physiotherapy practice.
    Full story
    • student
    • physiotherapy
    • Consent
  • Delisted—Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You

    May 24, 2018
    A blog by Fiona Campbell, Senior Physiotherapy Advisor at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, explaining how and when a physiotherapist may be delisted by an insurance company.
    Full story
    • Delisted
    • Delisting
    • Abuse
    • physiotherapist
    • Billing Number
    • billing
    • Insurance Fraud
  • A Bedtime Story

    Apr 27, 2018
    Full story
    • billing
    • assistant
    • physiotherapist assistant
    • PTA
    • Fraud
    • insurance
    • massage therapist
  • Who Runs the College Anyway?

    Mar 02, 2018
    Full story
  • Did You Make a New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight this Year?

    Jan 22, 2018
    Full story
  • The Assessment Program Undergoes An Assessment

    Dec 07, 2017
    Full story

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