Dr. Kane resides in Minnesota, a state where Cannabis must be dosed and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.
Only 15% of states with medical Cannabis programs require a pharmacist in their dispensary.Dr. Melani Kane, PharmD
Of the 33 states with a medical Cannabis program, only 5 require a pharmacist to provide clinical recommendations and oversee dispensing. What does this mean for patients with complicated medical conditions or several interacting medications that could interfere with relief or worse – lead to preventable harm?
Traditionally, Cannabis has been used as a plant medicine, food, and textile for thousands of years. Just like any other medicine, it can produce good or bad effects, which we refer to as ‘side effects’ or unintended effects.
Cannabis as a genus contains thousands of different chemically unique cultivars (cultivated variations) that produce different effects in different people. It is impossible to look at the plant and know its chemical composition. Just like you can’t look at an orange to quantify its amount of vitamin C, or examine a tea leaf to evaluate its caffeine content.
The greatest strength of medical programs is their requirement for strict testing and labeling. Consumers and patients need to know what they are ingesting whether seeking pharmacologic or intoxicating effects.
We need laboratory analysis to adequately adjust doses to help patients find relief. We also need to know chemical composition to ensure consistent therapeutic results.
In adult-use states (recreational programs), the goal of therapy is impairment and intoxication. But in a medical patient, that same feeling would be considered a side effect and signal to the patient they they need to use less next time or find a lower THC/higher CBD product.
In both medical and adult-use states, we need to encourage users to listen to their body to avoid harm and effectively self-manage their symptoms.
Cannabis is a quality-of-life saving drug and it’s about time modern medicine equips patients with the means to provide compassionate relief.