| One-Minute Clinician

Medical Cannabis—Pro or Con, You’ve Got to Learn!

The use of cannabis is big business in the United States and internationally, so we’re dealing a lot with  cannabis in terms of both medicinal and recreational applications. What does that mean?  I really think that clinicians now need to be encouraged to educate themselves about what is known and safe use.  Regardless of what you’re feeling, pro or con, you need to be able to understand if your patient’s using cannabis, what are they using, what does that mean, and how is that interacting with their medications and their life.

Is cannabis a solution to the opioid crisis?  Is the solution to look at another chemical – I’m not too sure. We have one product that was FDA approved, which is a purified form of cannabidiol from a plant, and I really hope that that’s going to open up a lot more research and familiarity with the chemical and then hopefully if we can move towards rescheduling cannabis we can break it down to its constituents and start studying individual cannabinoids in terms of their medicinal value, and decide if it will be another useful tool for pain management.  But I think right now, when you look at it as the solution to the opiate crisis, I think that we’re looking at a harm-reduction scenario because I think that there’s still utility for opiates. The three main takeaways that I want my audience to go away with anytime they come and listen to me lecture on medical cannabis is an understanding of the endocannabinoid system – the endogenous cannabinoid system within the body.   Secondly, I want them to feel comfortable to have the conversation about cannabis with their patients in a safe, open environment, and thirdly I want clinicians to feel that they can safely educate their patients about the use.

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