Pharmacists in Ontario have until next March to complete a mandatory course on cannabis.
With recreational marijuana now legal for adult use across Canada, the Ontario College of Pharmacists has decided it's high time for their members get up to familiarize themselves with with current cannabis research. This move makes Ontario the first and only province in Canada to make cannabis education mandatory for pharmacists.
While pharmacists in the province are not involved in dispensing medical marijuana to patients, the college believes its members should still be able to advise patients on some key aspects of using the drug. After completing the course, pharmacists should be able to speak to patients about ways to use cannabis and what its effects are, as well as give patients information on how cannabis might interact with other medications.
"As medication experts who are often the most accessible health-care provider for patients, pharmacy professionals play an important role in educating their patients if equipped with the necessary knowledge," the college said in a statement.
Michael Beazely—an associate professor of pharmacy who helped develop the mandatory cannabis course—said navigating the research about cannabis can be challenging and this course will make sure pharmacists are presented with the best data available. Additionally, he says that pharmacy students from his university will already have the proper accreditations once they graduate.
"Now that the Ontario College of Pharmacists has mandated required cannabis training we're actually going to embed that into our curriculum so that our grads will graduate with that box checked."
This announcement comes shortly after Canada's largest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, began selling medical marijuana through an online store.