An Ottawa doctor says the federal government hasn’t prepared the medical community for changes to medicinal marijuana laws coming next month.

Starting April 1, Health Canada will no longer be involved in the process of issuing medicinal marijuana licences.

Dr. Alykhan Abdullah, a family physician who heads the Academy of Medicine Ottawa, said he’s prescribed medicinal marijuana twice in 20 years.

“I’ve never been taught how to prescribe marijuana,” he said.

“It’s not taught in medical school, it’s not taught in any of the organizations. I’ve had to kind of stumble through my own evaluation and how to determine whether it was the right thing.”

'Difficult to do a proper quality job'

Dr. Abdullah said 10 of his patents have asked him for medicinal marijuana in the last month, including one who said he had an upset stomach.

“To make it readily available for all people, for conditions that aren’t clear, and (when) people don't have the background and scientific evidence behind it, it makes it very difficult to do a proper quality job,” he said.

Howard Allison Medicinal Marijuana

Howard Allison said he and a pain specialist decided together he should be prescribed medicinal marijuana. (Ryan Gibson/CBC)

Howard Allison, who suffered a serious back injury during his military career, said he’s someone who decided to take medicinal marijuana after consulting a specialist.

“She asked (if it) helps me, yes it helps me, and we just both decided on a dosage together, I signed the papers and that's the end of it,” he said.

“My life is far better, it eases the pain, it helps me relax at night and it helps me sleep.”

Dr. Abdullah said a pain specialist such as the one Allison went to is an example of someone he feels would be qualified to prescribe medicinal marijuana.

The changes to medicinal marijuana licensing are coming as Health Canada is approving private companies to handle medicinal marijuana production.

However, CBC News has learned only three of the 11 companies listed as approved on the website are fully operational with less than two weeks to go until they become the only entity allowed to legally supply medicinal marijuana.