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The Role of Medicinal Cannabis in Clinical Therapy: Pharmacists' Perspectives.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Medicinal cannabis has recently attracted much media attention in Australia and across the world. With the exception of a few countries, cannabinoids remain illegal-known for their adverse effects rather than their medicinal application and therapeutic benefit. However, there is mounting evidence demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in alleviating neuropathic pain, improving multiple sclerosis spasticity, reducing chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and many other chronic conditions. Many are calling for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis including consumers, physicians and politicians. Pharmacists are the gatekeepers of medicines and future administrators/dispensers of cannabis to the public, however very little has been heard about pharmacists' perspectives. Therefore the aim of this study was to explore pharmacists' views about medicinal cannabis; its legalisation and supply in pharmacy.

METHODS

Semi-structured interviews with 34 registered pharmacists in Australia were conducted. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed ad verbatim and thematically analysed using the NVivo software.

RESULTS

Emergent themes included stigma, legislation, safety and collaboration. Overall the majority of pharmacists felt national legalisation of a standardised form of cannabis would be suitable, and indicated various factors and strategies to manage its supply. The majority of participants felt that the most suitable setting would be via a community pharmacy setting due to the importance of accessibility for patients.

DISCUSSION

This study explored views of practicing pharmacists, revealing a number of previously undocumented views and barriers about medicinal cannabis from a supply perspective. There were several ethical and professional issues raised for consideration. These findings highlight the important role that pharmacists hold in the supply of medicinal cannabis. Additionally, this study identified important factors, which will help shape future policies for the successful implementation of medicinal cannabis in healthcare. We recommend that these views and strategies be incorporated in the development of policies and legislations.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

    ,

    Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

    Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

    Source

    PloS one 11:5 2016 pg e0155113

    MeSH

    Adult
    Cannabinoids
    Cooperative Behavior
    Demography
    Female
    Humans
    Legislation as Topic
    Male
    Medical Marijuana
    Middle Aged
    Pharmacists
    Quality Assurance, Health Care
    Social Stigma
    Substance-Related Disorders
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    27171490

    Citation

    Isaac, Sami, et al. "The Role of Medicinal Cannabis in Clinical Therapy: Pharmacists' Perspectives." PloS One, vol. 11, no. 5, 2016, pp. e0155113.
    Isaac S, Saini B, Chaar BB. The Role of Medicinal Cannabis in Clinical Therapy: Pharmacists' Perspectives. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0155113.
    Isaac, S., Saini, B., & Chaar, B. B. (2016). The Role of Medicinal Cannabis in Clinical Therapy: Pharmacists' Perspectives. PloS One, 11(5), pp. e0155113. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155113.
    Isaac S, Saini B, Chaar BB. The Role of Medicinal Cannabis in Clinical Therapy: Pharmacists' Perspectives. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0155113. PubMed PMID: 27171490.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - The Role of Medicinal Cannabis in Clinical Therapy: Pharmacists' Perspectives. AU - Isaac,Sami, AU - Saini,Bandana, AU - Chaar,Betty B, Y1 - 2016/05/12/ PY - 2016/01/18/received PY - 2016/04/25/accepted PY - 2016/5/13/entrez PY - 2016/5/14/pubmed PY - 2017/7/14/medline SP - e0155113 EP - e0155113 JF - PloS one JO - PLoS ONE VL - 11 IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: Medicinal cannabis has recently attracted much media attention in Australia and across the world. With the exception of a few countries, cannabinoids remain illegal-known for their adverse effects rather than their medicinal application and therapeutic benefit. However, there is mounting evidence demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in alleviating neuropathic pain, improving multiple sclerosis spasticity, reducing chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and many other chronic conditions. Many are calling for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis including consumers, physicians and politicians. Pharmacists are the gatekeepers of medicines and future administrators/dispensers of cannabis to the public, however very little has been heard about pharmacists' perspectives. Therefore the aim of this study was to explore pharmacists' views about medicinal cannabis; its legalisation and supply in pharmacy. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 34 registered pharmacists in Australia were conducted. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed ad verbatim and thematically analysed using the NVivo software. RESULTS: Emergent themes included stigma, legislation, safety and collaboration. Overall the majority of pharmacists felt national legalisation of a standardised form of cannabis would be suitable, and indicated various factors and strategies to manage its supply. The majority of participants felt that the most suitable setting would be via a community pharmacy setting due to the importance of accessibility for patients. DISCUSSION: This study explored views of practicing pharmacists, revealing a number of previously undocumented views and barriers about medicinal cannabis from a supply perspective. There were several ethical and professional issues raised for consideration. These findings highlight the important role that pharmacists hold in the supply of medicinal cannabis. Additionally, this study identified important factors, which will help shape future policies for the successful implementation of medicinal cannabis in healthcare. We recommend that these views and strategies be incorporated in the development of policies and legislations. SN - 1932-6203 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/27171490/The_Role_of_Medicinal_Cannabis_in_Clinical_Therapy:_Pharmacists'_Perspectives_ L2 - http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155113 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -