Pharmacists failing to help on cannabis

marijuana bud

The Pharmacy Connect education program will include an overview of medicinal cannabis, including the current market in Australia

Conference Convenor Kos Sclavos said it is critically important that pharmacists are up-to-speed with the latest clinical research and legislative processes for medicinal cannabis.

“An ever increasing number of Australians accept the role of medicinal cannabis as a therapy option and its benefits in a number of therapeutic areas,” he said.

“As a member of the Epilepsy Queensland board, where the role of medicinal cannabis in specific epilepsy conditions is well documented, I am alarmed and somewhat embarrassed when patients report to me that some pharmacists could not assist them at all, on how to access product and clinical information about medicinal cannabis.

“Even if pharmacists are not willing to go through the arduous Special Access Scheme (SAS) through the TGA, they need to be informed about the products so they can assist both their patients and where relevant, their carer,” Mr Sclavos said.

As a clinical process, when medicinal cannabis is added to therapy, all other medicines will continue to be taken.

“If community pharmacies and pharmacists do not remain informed about medicinal cannabis therapies, there is a significant risk that they will see their patient’s medications dispensed elsewhere.

“Furthermore, if the community pharmacy sector does not embrace this therapeutic category, pharmacy faces the risk of dispensing occurring at specialised dispensaries—which in my opinion is against the public interest,” Mr Sclavos said.

This education session will be presented by Associate Professor Nick Lintzeris (MBBS, PhD, FAChAM), an addiction medicine specialist and collaborator at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics—an Australian first in the field of medicinal cannabinoid research.

“Professor Lintzeris is at the cutting edge of medicinal cannabis research and, most importantly, understands the role that pharmacy should and will be playing in the future.

“The Guild will be taking a leadership position on medicinal cannabis, in terms of ensuring the Australian public is armed with factual information. This key session at Pharmacy Connect should be attended by all delegates and shared with staff to ensure that community pharmacy plays an active role as this new market emerges,” Mr Sclavos said.

‘Medicinal Cannabis—an overview for pharmacists’ will be held on Sunday September 3. Full conference program is available now at:

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