To celebrate National PTSD Awareness Month in June, the Pharmacy Times interviewed Dr Stress Disorder (PTSD) with veterans and the general public.
Alana Hippensteele: How could access to medical cannabis treatment be improved to support patients with PTSD?
Jordan Carpenter: Well, I find one of the things I find that the word access is sometimes used in this particular area to simply mean to be able to buy cannabis products, and I think that’s a bit off the thread.
On your point earlier that some of the things I said about vaporizers and cannabis use in this situation are not widely understood and allowing people with a serious problem like PTSD access to plant material is only a small part of it larger equation that really gives people access to people who know what they are doing with this plant material and who are also not interested in selling these products.
So when people go to a pharmacy in their state, they will usually run into someone we call a bud tender, or the seller, and that person will pretend to have great knowledge of how cannabis affects people and then advise them to buy a lot Cannabis.
Unfortunately, the folks behind the counter rarely have any training, and they certainly aren’t doctors or pharmacists. Some states have requirements for pharmacist involvement, but in general this is not the rule. Even if the bud seller or a pharmacist is on site, we have to keep in mind that they work for the sales company, the pharmacy, and so even with the best of intentions there are some conflicts of interest.
So I think that now we need not so much to improve access to the material as we need to improve access to the knowledgeable providers, and that is one of the reasons why I founded this association of cannabinoid specialists. We want all documents and other professionals to read from the same playbook, and this playbook should rely heavily on data, and human data in particular, not data from test tubes or rat models. These things are interesting, but they don’t necessarily tell us enough about what happens in humans.
Then we have to go to all these other vendors, too, the people who don’t do what we do but don’t know enough to know that Mrs. Jones is here today with her back pain or Mr. Smith with his PTSD. This is one area where cannabis could be helpful, so I’ll refer them to Jordan. This is a kind of thought process that we need to spread across the country and around the world so that the access you are talking about really comes with proper medical referral and careful guidance and supervision from the professionals and then feedback from everyone else on that patient’s care team – the family doctor or neurologist or psychiatrist or all these people – everyone is on the same page and everyone knows what is going on.
This is how I run my practice and I think it’s a successful model, but it’s not the norm in our country right now and I think that has to change.
Alana Hippensteele: Yeah! That makes sense. So you mention pharmacists and access to a certain level of knowledge. Do you think it is possible that pharmacies will be able to sell cannabis for treatment purposes themselves in the future?
Jordan Carpenter: I think so. The question will be whether they will sell cannabis in its botanical and manufactured form, as we get it through a pharmacy, or will they end up selling pharmaceuticals that are either derived from cannabis or from the knowledge we have from studying Win cannabis. I think the answer is we will likely always have some of both, and where the pharmacies are literally falling into I don’t know at this point.
What I am thinking is, and that is back to your access question, so to speak, that one of the most important keys that is missing right now is the recipe. If I write a prescription for Dronabinol, which is a THC drug, or Lysine-Pro or any other drug, then when the patient goes to the pharmacy, the pharmacy will give it out as written and there is no attempt to advise against it or sell. there is no wink, wink would you like Percocet from your side with your lysine professional?
That doesn’t mean the pharmacist doesn’t look at it and say, “Dr. Tishler, what are you thinking here? ”Such collegial negotiations are wonderful. But what happens in the pharmacy, when there is no statutory prescription, is that everything I have said to the patient – believe me, I write it down on a prescription pad for the patient – but in the pharmacy they say things and that’s actually a quote I was given by a patient: “Oh, I don’t know what your doctor is talking about, forget what he said. I’ll tell you what to do. ”You never hear that in a pharmacy.
So we need the pharmacies to become more like a pharmacy and / or the pharmacies to be able to do some of the things that pharmacies do in relation to the delivery of medicines.
Alana Hippensteele: Law. This is fascinating and especially interesting for our pharmacist audience who I think would be a great audience to hear. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, Dr. Tishler.
Jordan Carpenter: It is my pleasure a. Let me take 2 seconds here to remind everyone that if they are looking for resources on cannabinoid medicine they should visit the website of the Association of Cannabinoid Specialists which is cannabis-specialist.org. Thanks again.