Toronto will see its fifth medical cannabis clinic open in November, and those involved are quick to differentiate their operation from other cannabis-related businesses.

The medical cannabis clinics, unlike dispensaries, do not have cannabis on site, only medical staff to give information and serve as a connection between licensed cannabis producers.

The clinics offer educational seminars to physicians and patients to help educate on pain management, addiction information, cannabis regulations and a variety of other topics.

“The way to establish credibility is by focusing on the physicians in the medical community,” said Canadian Cannabis Clinics director Ronan Levy. “Some people come without a referral and attempt to get around the system but we have a fairly robust screening system.”

Unlike many dispensaries that will accept walk-in patients, Canadian Cannabis Clinics only accepts referrals from physicians.

Levy said the clinics aim to raise awareness for physicians, who typically don’t have a lot of information on cannabis.

“The vast majority don’t want to prescribe because they do not know a lot about it, unlike pharmaceuticals, where there is clear guidance on dosing and what not,” said Levy.

Carolina Landolt, who is opening the Summertree Medical Clinic in November said dispensaries posing as clinics makes it difficult to build credibility for operations like hers.

“Trying to slide the recreational market under the medical umbrella is weakening the entire market and tarring everyone with the same brush,” said Landolt. “I think there should be very distinct lines that get dealt with differently and honestly.”

Landolt worked as an autoimmune rheumatic disease researcher and, as her patients continued to request information about cannabis treatment, became interested in its use as a treatment.