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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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CPhA launches medical cannabis resources to support pharmacists, enhance patient care

November 15, 2017 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) today launched its first medical cannabis continuing education program to help pharmacists across Canada respond to the evolving health care needs of their patients. The program is part of a new suite of practice tools and resources on medical cannabis that CPhA is developing to support pharmacists, drawing on the best available evidence and experts in the field.

“Although pharmacists are not dispensing medical cannabis at this time, as the most accessible health care professional, we get asked questions by our patients regularly.  It’s important to understand how patients may use and access cannabis in order to help them manage their medications and treatment," says Shelita Dattani, Director, Practice Development and Knowledge Translation, CPhA. “As medication experts, pharmacists need to be armed with continuing education tools and resources specifically tailored for their practice.”

The first accredited course, An Introduction to Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids, serves as a foundational course to provide pharmacists with an overview of the different types of cannabinoids available in Canada, their therapeutic effects, and their impact on human physiology. It will cover Canadian regulations on the use of cannabis for medical purposes and focus on the important role pharmacists have in advising patients who have been prescribed cannabis as part of their treatment plan.

In addition to supporting pharmacists with education and resources, CPhA continues to urge the federal government to amend the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations to allow pharmacist dispensing to enhance patient safety. CPhA believes that pharmacists are best equipped to provide clinical advice to patients and appropriate oversight in the safe management and dispensing of medical cannabis.

CPhA’s medical cannabis resources and continuing education focus on the clinical oversight that pharmacists, as medication experts, can provide and how this treatment fits within the context of patients’ more traditional medication therapy. CPhA strives to create unbiased, evidence-based, pan-Canadian resources to bring all pharmacists up to a minimum standard of knowledge regarding cannabinoid products, their therapeutic effects, current regulations and the role of the pharmacist in this area.

 “As the regulatory landscape regarding cannabis is evolving in Canada, there has been a significant impact on pharmacists and other health care providers – who currently receive minimal education in this area. Pharmacists across Canada are already playing a role in providing advice and support to patients who use medical cannabis and CPhA wants to ensure they have the education, tools and resources to continue to provide effective medication management to their patients,” added Dattani.

Existing and upcoming resources include a medical cannabis FAQ practice tool; self- directed, online continuing education programs; a decision making clinical algorithm; and a reference guide of evidence.

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About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca.