Higher Education: Good Practices At Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
When we attach the term “medical” to a cannabis dispensary, it requires a higher level of knowledge, training, medical and health orientation and professionalism on the part of the dispensary owners and their budtenders.
Unfortunately, the lack of adequate cannabis research and training results in some budtenders lacking a genuine understanding of cannabis culture, biology, and pharmacology.
Terms such as toxicity, delivery system, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics etc are not being used enough these days. In a recent recording session of the soon to be released Cannabinerd Podcast, I sat down with my co-host, Richard Park, to discuss good dispensary practices. Richard currently runs Chicago’s first, and highest rated medical cannabis dispensaries. He makes the valid argument about the average budtenders’ lack of genuine understanding regarding the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the products they carry.
In fact, it can be argued that many strains in the US are more often produced for the recreational market: containing high levels of THC whilst lacking a more wholesome cannabinoid and terpene profile. Product shelf life is another concern that should be duly noted. Cannabis is a living medicine that can only retain its therapeutic and medicinal properties for so long before it begins to degrade.
Dispensaries must be cognizant of the packaging their product is in and ensure the product is moved off the shelf and into the hands of patients before the medicine begins to lose its potency and natural cannabinoid and terpene ratios.
Patients are visiting dispensaries seeking treatment and relief from a myriad of medical conditions ranging from neuropathic pain to cancer to PTSD and a host of other conditions in between. The way a dispensary approaches their interactions with a new patient is a defining characteristic of that dispensary. In our podcast, we outline the several main aspects of good dispensary practices when approaching a new patient:
- Identifying their Tolerance
- Identifying their Treatment Goals
- Identifying Side Effects (munchies, drowsiness, euphoria)
- Consumption Methodology (smoke, vape, edibles, transdermal, etc…)
- Adjusting dosage according to body weight
- Identification of potential interactions with other medications or supplements
- Matching the strain to the medical indication
- Matching the delivery system to the medical condition
- Matching the dosage to age and body weight
It is the responsibility of dispensary staff to set the bar high for patient care in the same way that we place our trust in the formal medical establishment. It is up to the budtenders to inform patients of the short term and long term side effects of cannabis. This is primarily the actions of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol creating the “high” users experience and how that specific product may affect them in regards to their tolerance and the cannabinoid profile of the product.
Perhaps more importantly, it is up to the dispensary and their owners to ensure their staff are well trained and informed on patient care roles as well as the most accurate and current research surrounding cannabis and it’s role as a medicine. We owe this medical cannabis movement, a patient-driven movement nonetheless, our best efforts and highest quality of care.
Perhaps a better way to ensure these standards are met is to create a formal, comprehensive and standardized handbook for dispensaries and their staff that covers the medical qualities of their different products, proper shelf life, and storage, as well as good documentation and dispensary practices. Creating and requiring a review of such a handbook to any and all dispensaries has the potential to significantly increase the quality of service staff can provide across the country.
With the significant outpour of new cannabis science and research along with previously established good practices, together this industry can improve its quality of service to patients everywhere.
About Cannabis GxP consultancy
Cannabis GXP is proud to stand at the forefront of the Cannabis industry in Israel and worldwide thanks to many years of experience in these areas.
Our team is compelled to spread the message of the importance of cannabis science, regulation and standardization as the world enters a new era of cannabis legislation.
We aim to position our clients with their best foot forward when it comes to anything and everything cannabis related.
Our vast expertise allows us to assist companies in a wide range of services and needs: Anything from Cannabis R&D, growing and manufacturing, new products development, facility design, technology, Quality Assurance, Good Practices (GAP/GMP/GLP/GDP/GCP), staff training, local and global regulations.
Cannabis GxP is a subsidiary company of Bio-Chem Ltd. (2007), a consultancy firm for the Pharmaceutical field, medical devices, Cosmetics and food supplements industry based in Israel.
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