Let’s say you live in Utah and you believe you suffer from a condition that qualifies you to use medical marijuana. What do you do? You go to a qualified medical professional recognized by the state to recommend the drug. That person helps obtain a medical cannabis card you can take to a dispensary to purchase your product.
Like most other states with legalized medical marijuana, doctors do not write traditional prescriptions detailing delivery method and dosage. They simply recommend medical marijuana based on their knowledge of the drug and the human cannabinoid system.
If you were to go to Utahmarijuana.org for help in getting a medical cannabis card, the doctors there would recommend that you work with a cannabis pharmacist to figure out delivery method and dosage. But still, dosage is not an exact science. A lack of clinical research makes dosage a hit-or-miss enterprise in many cases.
The Cannabis Pharmacist
Doctors do not receive training on the human cannabinoid system or cannabis itself during medical school. That is not unusual. They do not receive formal training about most of the drugs they prescribe. Rather, they rely on information provided by drug manufacturers and the expertise of pharmacists to guarantee patients get the right dosage.
The same thing should be true in the medical marijuana field. For example, there are cannabis pharmacists in Utah. These are pharmacists who have undergone extra training in the cannabis realm. They know the drug inside and out. They know how it affects people. They know what delivery methods are most effective based on what patients are trying to achieve.
An ideal situation would see a patient go to a doctor for help in obtaining a medical cannabis card. That doctor would verify the patient suffers from a qualifying condition. After obtaining the card, the doctor would pass the patient off to a medical cannabis pharmacist. It would be up to the pharmacist to work with the patient to determine delivery methods and dosage.
Multiple Form Factors
Doctors not fully trained in the use of cannabis face the challenge of having to understand different delivery methods. Medical cannabis can be delivered through capsules or tablets, topical creams, oils, vaping products, and more. And of course, there are both THC and non-THC products as well. That is a lot for a doctor to try to understand.
It should also be noted that delivery method impacts the effects of medical cannabis. For example, vaping a medical cannabis liquid offers almost instantaneous relief. Ingesting by way of a capsule or tablet can delay relief considerably.
It is a pharmacist’s job to know all of these things. That’s why the pharmacist is the most qualified to work with patients on dosage. And in states like Utah, they do just that.
Tracking and Modifying Prescriptions
The state of Utah encourages medical cannabis patients to track their daily usage. They are encouraged to give tracking information to their pharmacists on every visit to the dispensary. Pharmacists use that information to make recommendations about delivery method and dosage.
Note that the system does not completely eliminate doctors from the equation. Not only do doctors have to approve patient applications for medical cannabis cards, but they also have to be consulted at renewal time. Patients must once again see their doctors to determine if medical cannabis is still appropriate.
Such an arrangement seems to be the best way to dispense medical cannabis at this time. A doctor affirms that the drug is appropriate but then leaves delivery method and dosage to the pharmacist. Patients benefit by having access to expertise at both stages.