Tag Archives: Pharmacists

Pharmacists want more information

pmcIn a First of it’s kind study posted to PubMED shows that pharmacists want more information about medical cannabis.   The study conducted in Minnesota prior to Minnesota’s medical Cannabis program implementation shows that Pharmacists want more information on medical cannabis.  The Study was done by Joy Hwang, PharmD, MPH, Tom Arneson, MD, MPH, and Wendy St. Peter, PharmD

First the report determines that Minnesota Pharmacists, in general, have limited Knowledge of cannabis polices, regulations and felt they were not adequately trained.

Pharmacists reported limited knowledge of Minnesota state-level cannabis policies and regulations and felt that they were inadequately trained in cannabis pharmacotherapy. Most pharmacists were unprepared to counsel patients on medical cannabis and had many concerns regarding its availability and usage. Only a small proportion felt that the medical cannabis program would impact their practice. Pharmacists’ leading topics of interest for more education included Minnesota’s regulations on the medical cannabis program, cannabis pharmacotherapy, and the types and forms of cannabis products available for commercialization.

Unlike most states which have legal medical Cannabis Minnesota and a couple others have Licensed Pharmacists as the dispensers.  However in Minnesota these pharmacists are trained by their respective companies and have a great deal of knowledge about Cannabis use for medical purposes.

In these three states, pharmacists provide registered patients with consultations at one of the state-approved cannabis distribution centers. Moreover, they are the only health care professionals who are permitted to dispense cannabis products. This distinguishes these states from most other legalization states, where cannabis products—both medical and recreational—can be purchased from retail dispensaries that operate under the guidance of certified personnel known as “budtenders.”

The study was done to assess gaps in knowledge and concerns of Minnesota pharmacists.  The study conducted voluntarily via a web-based survey and had a 10% response rate by the states Pharmacists. The questionnaire had 14 questions they asked the pharmacists and also room for them to put in their own comments.

The majority of the respondents completed the survey and reported little concern about medical cannabis.

Most pharmacists rated themselves on the lower end of the Likert scale for self-perceived knowledge about medical cannabis and readiness to counsel patients on medical cannabis use (1 = poor; 7 = excellent) and concerns about medical cannabis use under the Minnesota program (1 = no concern; 7 = most concern)

Almost 90% of the respondents responded that they were less than moderately prepared to provide counseling services to patients using cannabis for medical purposes.

Pharmacists in general want more education.  This survey is of all pharmacists registered in Minnesota. Of those only a small number of them actually work with cannabis patients in the clinics that are available.  However it’s clear from this study that they want more education on Cannabis.

Respondents were very interested in learning more about medical cannabis in the following areas: state-specific rules and regulation (87%), pharmacotherapy (88%), and available types and forms of products on the market (82%). Fifty-three percent were interested in learning more about federal laws related to marijuana. Only 7% indicated no interest in learning more about any of these topics.

The study was conducted 2 months prior to Minnesota implementation of it’s cannabis program and there was a great deal of confusion about it.  Since the time of the survey information from a variety of sources including educational presentations to many hospitals, clinics, and hospital-clinic organizations in Minnesota with pharmacists as part of the audience, The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Medical School and School of Nursing, full-day educational symposium on medical cannabis in April 2016, the Minnesota Pharmacists Association (MPhA) and the Minnesota College of Clinical Pharmacists.

The Study Concludes:

This study suggests that Minnesota pharmacists were not sufficiently prepared to work with patients in the medical cannabis program. Of those who provided survey responses, an overwhelming majority felt incompetent in medical cannabis clinical knowledge; however, almost half were unconcerned about the potential impact the program’s implementation would have on their practice. Nonetheless, pharmacists were interested in learning about medical cannabis and its state-specific regulation. Targeted education regarding cannabis pharmacotherapy, product availability and variability, and state-specific regulations should be available for health care professionals practicing in states with medical cannabis programs prior to program implementation and patient access.

 

Link to the study here – LINK

Copy of the study here – minnesota-pharmacists-and-medical-cannabis_-a-survey-of-knowledge-concerns-and-interest-prior-to-program-launch

 

USP wants Medical Cannabis Experts

uspLooking deeper into the USP and what they might be doing with Medical Cannabis we run across that they are looking for Experts to sit on a panel.

Posted Aug 30th on their website they are seeking qualified candidates to sit on a panel to “develop quality standards for cannabis used for medical purposes.”

That expert panel will then make recommendations to the Botanical Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines Expert Committee.

They expect to have this panel in place by the end of Sept 2016

“Expert panels are formed to provide additional expertise on a particular compendial topic, thereby supplementing Expert Committee expertise. Each Expert Panel has a specific charge (including scope of work, deliverables, and timeline for completion) and will be dissolved at the conclusion of its work. Expert Panels are advisory to one or more Expert Committees; they are not decision-making bodies.”

A person can apply to be on the expert panel at the following link –  USP

For additional information, contact Nandakumara Sarma, Director, Herbal Medicines (dns@usp.org or 301-816-8354).

US Pharmacopeia looking at Medical Cannabis

uspFollowing up on why would the USP want to be registered with the DEA we found, The US Pharmacopeia is looking at medical Cannabis and how to set a Monograph.  This is extremely important for anyone seeking to get FDA approval and DEA to re-schedule.

Based on what we have found in the USP website it’s clear that they are aware that Cannabis has a long history of medical use. “In 1850, USP admitted cannabis as a recognized drug in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and published an Extractum Cannabis (or Extract of Hemp) monograph”

usp-mjIt’s also pretty clear that they can develop standards for Cannabis products.  “USP has a long history of developing quality standards for herbal medicines, either as pharmaceuticals or as dietary supplements. USP has state-of-the-art laboratories throughout the world, and global scientific expertise in the form of USP staff and expert volunteers. This cumulative experience and expertise at USP could be used as a foundation for standard development for cannabis products.”  adding  “USP is considering organizing an open forum for discussion of these proposals to gather input for a suitable path forward toward the potential development of quality standards for medical cannabis.”

However they fear the results without working closely with the FDA and DEA.  “Another important consideration would be where to publish the standards that USP may develop for medical cannabis. USP’s flagship compendia, the USP–NF, are recognized as “official compendia” under United States law and contain standards for identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines that are enforceable by the FDA. Generally, USP–NF only contains monographs for drugs that were included in USP before the 1938 amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, or drugs that are legally marketed in the U.S., which presents an important challenge given that marijuana is currently illegal under federal law. Given medical cannabis’ current legal status, the regulatory implications of publishing cannabis standards in USP–NF would need to be carefully reviewed and analyzed with input from regulators and other stakeholders. In particular, input from the FDA and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will be critical.”

USP is clearly looking at Medical Cannabis and how they might control or help it’s regulation and use.  “As the use of medical cannabis is growing, the need for a USP public scientific standard to help ensure identity, purity, quality, and strength has been identified. Public quality standards for medical cannabis are important for many reasons, including the avoidance of adulteration, accurate identification, control of contaminants, and considerations regarding constituent composition and strength.”

Concluding “USP is committed to working with stakeholders to determine the advisability and feasibility of developing public quality standards for medical cannabis. USP welcomes comments on the issues and ideas presented in this Stimuli article and on all aspects of developing such standards, including scientific and public health considerations, legal and regulatory issues, and mechanisms for obtaining appropriate scientific expertise and ongoing stakeholder input.”

USP recognizing medical cannabis would help change DEA scheduling of Cannabis.  For more information and link to the Article they published follow here – LINK

The USP recently filed an application with the DEA to deal with Cannabis a schedule I substance.