cannabis pharmacy healthcare study

Should Pharmacists Ask About Patient Cannabis Use?

Pharmacists play a greater role in the global healthcare system than many people might think.

Typically when many people think of healthcare professionals they think of medical doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.

However, after a person leaves a hospital or a doctor’s office the next place that they often go is to a pharmacy to pick up a prescription.

Depending on the type of condition(s) that the patient is experiencing, the patient could leave the pharmacy with a significant amount of prescription drugs.

How those drugs interact with other things that the patient consumes, including cannabis, is important.

However, a recent study shows that pharmacists are not talking about it with patients.

Pharmacists and Questions About Cannabis

When a patient goes to the pharmacy, the typical experience is that they first pay for the prescription(s), then have a consultation with the pharmacist on duty.

The pharmacist will give a brief overview of how often to take the medicine and any potential side effects.

They also mention certain things that may not interact well with the prescription(s).

A study was recently conducted in which researchers examined, among other things, how often pharmacists talk to patients about cannabis use.

A total of 51 pharmacists participated in the study by filling out survey questions.

“Of the 51 pharmacists who completed the survey, 20% received questions about medical marijuana daily or weekly, 57% monthly, and 22% never, while 16% received questions about recreational marijuana weekly, 41% monthly, and 43% never,” according to the survey results.

“In addition, 53% were comfortable answering questions about medical marijuana, while 41% were comfortable answering questions about recreational marijuana.

The most common questions received were related to indications, uses, and efficacy (33%), followed by drug interactions (30%),” researchers concluded.

Cannabis is definitely safer than most pharmaceutical drugs, however, that does not mean that pharmacists and patients shouldn’t talk about it.

Limited Research Plays a Role

Cannabis research has boomed in recent years thanks to reform victories in a growing number of regions across the globe.

With that being said, available research is still limited in the grand scheme of things.

Even with the growing number of cannabis studies, most pharmacists remain ill-equipped because they don’t keep up with study results.

Hopefully, as time goes on and more patients continue to ask about cannabis, pharmacists will be more proactive in seeking out reliable information to be better suited to answer those questions.

In a perfect world, prohibition would not exist and people would feel OK with talking to pharmacists about cannabis.

Unfortunately, many do not because of fear of persecution.

That is one of the many reasons why the cannabis community needs to continue to fight for legalization.


  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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