A Professional Association for Cannabis Clinicians – The World Needs Big Ideas: Part 2

In Part 1, “Who Needs a Professional Association for Cannabis Clinicians?”, I wrote about the importance of creating Association of Cannabinoid Specialists (ACS) when I realized there was a big gap in patient care information for clinicians.  I talked about my own background as Harvard faculty, my epiphany that patients were not presenting to my emergency room for cannabis use, and my own research journey which led to understanding the benefits of cannabis as a medicine as well as founding my own cannabinoid medicine practice, inhaleMD. 

ACS is a membership organization.  Our volunteers bring their cannabis expertise to ACS leadership and to the creation of our educational content.  Our main goal is to educate clinicians and cannabis policymakers to improve the patient outcomes, and encourage mainstream clinicians to consider cannabinoid medicine for their patients’ benefit.  

Details about the “big ideas” we’d like you to consider, especially related to a national medical cannabis system, can be found in our white paper here. We’d love your support and participation in moving these ideas forward.  

Key elements include: 

  • Prescriptions – clinicians must have the ability and must be required to write a true, binding prescription for cannabis products, like all other medications.  This is important to effectively communicate to the seller what product the patient needs, assure that the patient gets that medication and none other, and prevent the up-selling that is currently the norm.  It also requires that the clinician be knowledgeable about cannabis medicines and take responsibility for the treatment.  
  • Medical Claims – dispensaries and product manufacturers must be prohibited from making claims about what their products can, or may, do unless they have achieved FDA approval.  This will cut down on the misinformation being used to sell products which is misleading to patients.  This moratorium must be applied to recreational stores and products as well as those that are medical. 
  • Travel – patients travel and should be able to take all of their medications, including cannabis, with them when they go.  Further, like any other medication, patients should be able to get a refill of their cannabis medicine while they are traveling. 
  • Safety and Dosing Standards – presently state regulations governing the testing and dosing of cannabis products vary from state to state, and even between medical and recreational programs (oddly recreational standards are often more stringent.)  Safety testing and dosing standards should be consistent and based on evidence.   
  • Research – while there is now a lot of human data on which we can reasonably base medical treatment with cannabis, there remains much to be learned.  We need a national research agenda that fairly prioritizes both risk reduction and medical treatment and has a robust budget to advance the field.   

I encourage you to learn more about Association of Cannabinoid Specialists, review the educational material we have developed, and join our effort to bring awareness to more clinicians about cannabis as an option to help their patients.  The more professionals we can expose to science-based education the better off our patients will be.