September 3, 2018 | MED MARIJUANA DISPENSARY
By, Lauraine Kanders, ANP, ACNP-BC
Pharmacists in New York have been dispensing medical marijuana for a few years now. In New York State, only Board-Certified Pharmacists are allowed to dispense medical marijuana products to qualified residents. According to the law, any facility that dispenses medical cannabis cannot even open or operate unless there’s a New York state–licensed pharmacist on the premises.
While registered practitioners of the NYS Medical Marijuana Program can recommend appropriate dosing and method of administration to their patients, they can also defer this action to the Pharmacist at the dispensary. While you may ask why your provider may do this, there are several potentially good answers. For one thing, not every dispensary offers the products that may be recommended to you in the dose or form of administration that you were asked to take. Few offer pure CBD oil with no THC and some do not carry oral pill form, for instance. Then there are other reasons. What if you have Schizophrenia and your local dispensary will not sell you any products because all of their products contain THC- which is thought to worsen hallucinations and delusions? What if you have fat malabsorption and cannot tolerate oil products and need a water- based product? As you can see, there are a variety of circumstances that one must consider.
Let’s not forget that medical cannabis can be a costly venture which requires cash or debit card payment on the spot. Dispensaries do not take credit cards. The amount you are willing to spend may be a defining factor. Practitioners are not in a position to know product pricing at dispensaries and are forbidden from steering you towards one over the other. The pharmacist is the best one to put it all together for you.
While a thorough discussion of your qualifying condition with your nurse practitioner or physician will guarantee that you will receive the information you need to plan for medical marijuana usage to help your condition, you should also consider the opinion of the dispensary pharmacist. At times you will be given a dosing recommendation on your certificate and at other times you will be given the opportunity to have the pharmacist assist you with this. Your certificate is your passport into the dispensary. When you visit, present your certificate and come prepared with a list of symptoms that occur during the day and during the night. List also the frequency and intensity of the problem(s). Schedule a sit down with the dispensing pharmacist and invite your caregiver to join. Talk about your disease state and the goals of therapy to determine the appropriate dose and formulation. The pharmacist is a professional who is great at symptom management. They understand the products and have a specialized understanding of the pharmacology. Get to know the pharmacist at the dispensary! And, don’t forget to visit Lauraine Kanders, ANP, ACNP-BC at Medical Marijuana Recs NY for the best advice at the best cost. Send us your documents to review at no cost.