Kelly DeBoom, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate 2022, shadowed Melani at her cannabis dispensary and was glad to share her experience. Read below for a few highlights from her report as a student pharmacist:
One of the things that surprised me most was the amount of negative stigma towards cannabis by medical patients
I assumed that patients would be supportive of it, or at least accepting of it, as it was being dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. This was not the case that I saw in the counseling sessions at the dispensary. Many patients would not even consider trying some of the different dosage form options available, like the vaporizer, because they “don’t smoke” or are morally against getting high, which is not the goal of therapy. I felt that patients were morally against weed or scared of what others would think if they found out they were using it, resulting from the 70 years of prohibition.
As unbiased healthcare professionals, pharmacists need to keep an open mind to treatment modalities.
Another thing that surprised me was how much guesswork was involved when treating patients
with medical cannabis. It is difficult to have a recommended target dose as THC and CBD
both affect each person differently, and each patient might have different experiences with their
pain depending on the day or the time. Many patients during follow-ups were frustrated because they reacted differently than other people with their same condition. This was especially true to patients who had no previous cannabis experience and were scared of experimenting on their own. The treatments proposed by the pharmacist were not very different from a patient’s typical medication plan, where they may take exact doses at exact times for maintenance, or their short acting medicines “as needed.” It will be interesting to see how the patient relationship with opiates changes once the stigma towards cannabis lessens.
I think that medical cannabis has a huge potential in medicine and we should embrace the change it is bringing. Perhaps this would alleviate some of the stigma against it by its patients if more practitioners and professionals were better aware of the potential benefits for patients by medical cannabis.
What do you think? Join the discussion below!