Posted By

Tags

Pharmacists urged to refresh knowledge of medicinal cannabis

Medicinal Cannabis was in use in China more than 6000 years ago (From Website)

Staff Reporter
Auckland, August 25, 2021

More than 3500 practising pharmacists in New Zealand must urgently familiarise themselves with medicinal cannabis.

Patient enquiries and demand are set to surge when New Zealand-made products come into the market later this year, Hamilton based Pharmacist and Co-Owner of Nga Hua Pharmacy James Yu said.

He has arguably processed more medicinal cannabis prescriptions than anyone in the country and dispensed them to more than 600 patients in the past three years.

“I have seen medicinal cannabis prescribed for pain, seizure control, anxiety, insomnia and rarer conditions. Most people know about Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but cannabis has dozens more compounds which could be harnessed to treat many different conditions. Science is starting to unleash its vast therapeutic potential,” Mr Yu said.

Connecting with patients

He has called on his colleagues to upskill themselves for significant patient questions with local product availability the catalyst. Doctors will also be quizzing pharmacists.

“Often, the first point of call for enquiries about medicinal cannabis are pharmacists. That includes from doctors who field questions from their patients and then often ask their community pharmacist. Therefore, it is critical that pharmacists understand medicinal cannabis so that they can give the appropriate advice. A lack of knowledge, otherwise, will only add a barrier to patients wanting to access medicinal cannabis,” he said.

Pharmacist Hamilton Pharmacist James Yu

A medicinal cannabis postgraduate, Mr Yu has strongly encouraged pharmacists to take up two specific opportunities to learn more, both sponsored by Helius Therapeutics, the first medicinal cannabis business to gain a GMP Licence to Manufacture Medicines from the Ministry of Health. 

Dubbed New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis information service, Datapharm’s website www.mcinfo.com is now available. Registration is free for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. The education initiative also sees highly trained representatives on the road to better inform healthcare professionals about medicinal cannabis.

Medical Cannabis Summit 2021

Medcan Summit 2021 will be held on October 12 and October 13, 2021 in Auckland.

Mr Yu said that it will include a one-day Healthcare Professional Forum at which experts will discuss the endocannabinoid system, clinical data, application and prescription of medicinal cannabis in medical practice.

“MedCan 2021 will contain the most up-to-date information for us as pharmacists. It is a fantastic way to network and meet other health professionals interested in all things medicinal cannabis. At the same time, MCinfo is a great online platform to learn more about key aspects such as our endocannabinoid system and the different indications, dosages, and contraindications of medicinal cannabis,” he said.

Past surveys of Kiwi healthcare professionals have confirmed that medicinal cannabis knowledge gaps, yet those at the coalface report growing enquiries and demand.

Increasing public interest

Mr Yu said that patients are about to get even more interested.

“Having dispensed to over 600 patients, almost all of them at some point ask about a product’s country of origin. Given that they have all been imported from overseas so far, many patients have made it clear they would prefer to buy and support local. Without doubt then, once we have Kiwi products, we can expect a whole rush new of interest,” he said.

He said that patients will ask in-depth questions about locally produced medicinal cannabis products. He says these could include the strength of the product, cannabinoid profile, terpene profile, and carrier oils.

“In the last three years that I have been active in this field, I have seen a huge change in the views of many patients and doctors. Further, the continued interest in the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis will only grow. It is important that we stay up to date with the latest knowledge and evidence surrounding medicinal cannabis. What is more, interest and use will only continue to grow. With increasing awareness, research and time, medicinal cannabis will change the paradigm of health and longevity,” he said.

Don Budge at the MCinfo.com stand at the Taupo Independent Pharmacy Conference 2021

Helius Therapeutics

As well as dispensing medicinal cannabis from his Hamilton pharmacy, Mr Yu is a member of Helius Therapeutics’ Expert Advisory Board.

“Helius’ vision and ethos are in line with mine. Not only do they want to tap into the endless therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabinoids, but they are determined to improve patients’ accessibility. Importantly, they secured both a GMP licence and the most innovative people in their respective fields,” he said.

Helius Therapeutics Chief Executive Carmen Doran said that the 100% New Zealand-owned medicinal cannabis company is delighted to have Mr Yu on its Expert Advisory Board.

“Helius now has a GMP Licence to Manufacture Medicines and the best people to get the job done. Helius is also steadfastly committed to education and so we’re thrilled to be backing initiatives to better support the country’s pharmacists,” she said.

Datapharm Director Don Budge said that Mr Yu’s encouragement of pharmacists to upskill themselves on medicinal cannabis is appreciated since local products are imminent and pharmacists are an important and trusted touchpoint for patients.

“At the recent Independent Pharmacy Conference in Taupo, we were buoyed by the interest evinced by pharmacists to learn more about medicinal cannabis. There are many now registered at MCinfo. They are keen on a single trusted source of information with real-time access to medicinal cannabis’ ongoing global developments,” he said. 

Helius Therapeutics is the education sponsor of www.mcinfo.com and is the founding sponsor for October’s MedCan Summit 2021 www.medcansummit.co.nz; www.helius.co.nz

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement