“As pharmacists, we have an obligation to acknowledge the medical benefits of cannabis and educate others.” It’s a sentiment Mary Pat Hoffman instills in her college students, of her new cannabis course.
Hoffman is the clinical director to Peninsula Alternative Health, a company who received one of the 102 coveted pre-approval license for a dispensary in Maryland.
She’s also taken it upon herself to forge a relationship with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School (UMES) of Pharmacy.
“This is medicine, just as much as the pharmaceutical drugs people pick up from their local pharmacy, she explained to her students. It’s about bringing students into a non-biased classroom, she said, “I’ve designed the course to bring a new class of pharmacy students into a post-drug war world.”
It’s the university’s first cannabis course elective and it begins this month. Hoffman said she was excited for her first day of school in nearly twenty years.
UMES is a unique spot, as part of the well-resourced University of Maryland system, it’s also in an area heavily reliant upon agriculture industries.
Hoffman is hopeful that cannabis industries can help the unemployment problem in the area. “If this becomes an asset for the school, they can become a school of excellence for the industry.”
The elective covers a broad range of topics:
- History of cannabis
- The endocannabinoid system
- Medical conditions benefiting from cannabis
- Using cannabis as medicine
- Methods of administration
- Dosage and drug interactions
- Substance abuse and legal and ethical issues
In return, the Peninsula Alternative Health Center will take on pharmacy students to intern in their facility.
Maryland’s Medical Timeline
By 2018, patients will be able to legally include cannabis in their treatment plans.
“We have to understand the clinical implications this can have on their quality of life and adjust traditional treatment as necessary,” Hoffman told The Fresh Toast.
It’s taken years to get this far, but she says it’s worth the wait.
The next steps involve financial and criminal background checks on all partners of the 102 dispensaries, site selection, financing, training, and inspections.
Now is the time to meet the other cannabis businesses and preliminary licensees in the state, according to Hoffman. For her company and her future patients, the earlier the relationships begin with the cultivators, the better.
Hoffman attended the December meeting with the new Maryland Marijuana Cannabis Commission Executive Director, Patrick Jameson. Jameson fielded questions from the preliminary license winners at the December 21 meeting.
“A lot of questions were answered and I think everyone feels more confident and comfortable moving forward,” reported Hoffman.