Canadian Legalization | A Pharmacist's perspective (expanded!)

December 06, 2018 2 Comments

Canadian Legalization  |  A Pharmacist's perspective (expanded!)

Have questions about medical cannabis and whether its right for you? Give us a call or send us an email to inquire about our brand new Cannabis Consultation program, with Adam Livingston, PharmD.

 

And so the day has finally come. On October 17th, 2018, Canada made history and became the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis for recreational usage. So far, the results have been somewhat underwhelming. There were no riots in the streets, no clouds of smoke overtaking cities. And I am not surprised because, in my experience, cannabis users tend to be quite reasonable, respectful people. Most individuals that use cannabis, whether for medical or recreational purposes, were already using it before October 17th, so not too much will change. Except of course, the economics of cannabis, which could mean big business for Canada. Canada has the opportunity to become the world leader on the cannabis front, so we need to make sure we do this right, both medically and recreationally.

 

On the medical side, I think that cannabis has many useful therapeutic properties. The body’s endocannabinoid system is involved in regulation of pain, mood, memory, appetite, stress, hormone balance, fertility, and energy metabolism. We are in the midst of an opioid crisis, and we need new treatment options for the various forms of chronic pain we are commonly seeing, such as fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. Cannabis, and in particular cannabidiol (CBD), has huge medical potential in these areas. And cannabidiol does not get you “high” like whole cannabis. It is primarily the THC component in cannabis that produces the psychoactive effects, and this is avoided when we use CBD. CBD provides the anti-inflammatory effects without the “high”. It is a very useful medical compound, and I think it will be a major molecule used in the future treatment of inflammation and chronic pain.


On the recreational side, I think we need to be very cautious around impaired driving and the effects of cannabis on the developing teenage brain. There is a ton of hype around cannabis right now with Canada being the first industrialized nation to legalize it for recreational usage, and I think a lot of people are hailing it as a panacea. Many drugs have gone through “panacea periods” where people falsely believe they will be cure-alls for many of our common diseases and ailments. Cannabis has some very useful medical properties, and I think that adults should be allowed to use it responsibly for recreational purposes. It gives us another powerful tool in the pharmacological toolbox, but it won’t fix all of our health problems. It is a much safer option for symptom management than opioids, for example, but to truly treat these health problems, we have to dig deeper into people’s root causes, such as the microbiome, hormone balance, and nutrient status.

 

As a pharmacist, I have been disappointed with my own profession’s handling of the emergence of cannabis. Our colleges and associations have not taken much of a stand on cannabis at all, despite the fact that cannabis is the only restricted medical substance that does not need to be dispensed by a pharmacist in Canada. Instead, anyone can just purchase cannabis via the recreational stream with no counseling, prior knowledge, or precautions. We as pharmacists dropped the ball on this one, and I am having daily conversations with patients that are totally new to this area. They are very confused about what cannabis strains and products would be right for them.

 

At NutriChem, we are used to occupying the alternative health domain, and our pharmacists and naturopaths are quite knowledgeable about cannabis and its interactions with prescription medications and medical conditions. If you are interested in medical cannabis, contact NutriChem today!

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Below is a recent Q & A for Kitchissippi Times, written by Adam Livingston, NutriChem Pharmacist. 


Q: From a pharmacist’s perspective, what do you think of the growing interest and use of cannabis for medical purposes?


A: I think that cannabis has many useful therapeutic properties. The body’s endocannabinoid system is involved in regulation of pain, mood, memory, appetite, stress, hormone balance, fertility, and energy metabolism. We are in the midst of an opioid crisis, and we need new treatment options for the various forms of chronic pain we are commonly seeing, such as fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. Cannabis, and in particular cannabidiol (CBD), has huge medical potential in these areas. And cannabidiol does not get you “high” like whole cannabis. It is primarily the THC component in cannabis that produces the psychoactive effects, and this is avoided when we use CBD. CBD provides the anti-inflammatory effects without the “high”. It is a very useful medical compound.


Q: Do you think that there will be unforeseen public health consequences from widespread cannabis use?



A: Yes. With recreational cannabis about to be legalized, I think we need to be very cautious around impaired driving and the effects of cannabis on the developing teenage brain. There is a ton of hype around cannabis right now with Canada being the first industrialized nation to legalize it for recreational usage, and I think a lot of people are hailing it as a panacea. Many drugs have gone through “panacea periods” where people falsely believe they will be cure-alls for many of our common diseases and ailments. Cannabis has some very useful medical properties, and I think that adults should be allowed to use it responsibly for recreational purposes. It gives us another powerful tool in the pharmacological toolbox, but it won’t fix all of our health problems. It is a much safer option for symptom management than opioids, for example, but to truly treat these health problems, we have to dig deeper into people’s root causes, such as the microbiome, hormone balance, and nutrient status.


Adam Livingston, PharmD

NutriChem Pharmacist

Dr. Adam Livingston, PharmD, is a clinical pharmacist at NutriChem Compounding Pharmacy and Clinic. He is NutriChem’s Deprescribing Program Coordinator. Adam’s areas of focus include medication deprescribing, gastrointestinal health, mental health, and addiction.





2 Responses

Debbie Prevost
Debbie Prevost

November 09, 2018

I have a daughter with similar symptoms. Does yours have EDS as well?

Sandra Wilson
Sandra Wilson

October 22, 2018

Hi Adam;

My daughter is having brutal costochondritis pain as well as gastreperesis. She is taking CBD no thc but pain is uncontrolled. She has a medical license. She has had many adverse reactions to opiods and other pain medications. We have been dealing with Nutrichem nutritionist and ND{although have ‘t been to ND for 8 months). Do you or anyone there have experience with CBD/THC for pain? Please don’t post we are desperate formpain relief.

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