Cannabis & Coronavirus – A Pharmacist’s Perspective
Athens, Greece - March 28, 2020: Pharmacist wearing surgical mask and gloves assists customers behind glass. Protective measures at drugstore.

Cannabis & Coronavirus – A Pharmacist’s Perspective

When I was at Pharmacy School at Sydney University, more than 20 years ago, we learned the pharmaceutical and clinical sciences ranging from the design, synthesis, formulation, dispensing and testing of drugs and the clinical and social aspects of pharmacy. In practical terms, we studied how pharmaceuticals interact, how to accurately measure and dispense medications, advise patients on effective protocols and adverse events, what to do and not to do when using specific medications. 

We did not learn how to dispense medications in a pandemic. 

It never occurred to the University to include this in the curriculum. Like the heroic doctors, nurses and caregivers at hospitals today, pharmacists too are on the front lines of this global pandemic. People need medicine, and ensuring the supply chain of critical meds at this time is just as important as washing hands and social distancing, maybe more so. 

In my pharmacy in Israel, we have taken measures to keep our pharmacists as safe as possible including protective glass between the pharmacist and patients, gloves, masks and alcogel between patients, limiting the number of patients in the store at any time to 1, and other measures including pick-up services and delivery. We have doubled our stock of common medication and we have seen stockpiling of medication, alcogel and masks as common.

Over 60,000 patients in Israel receive medical cannabis through pharmacies and distributors. The current supply chain for cannabis is stable and we have even seen imported cannabis flowers from Canada, the US, and Africa. Hundreds of thousands of patients around the world rely on cannabis medicine to treat a range of conditions, including epilepsy, Parkinsons, cancer, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, autism, chronic pain and more. And most especially in these times, cannabis is used effectively to treat anxiety.

Research has shown that Cannabis can significantly reduce anxiety, depression,  and stress.

  • Low THC/high CBD cannabis can help with depression
  • High THC/high CBD cannabis can help with stress

I am pleased to read that cannabis dispensaries are being classified as essential businesses in the U.S. (although it’s obvious to me, I am somewhat puzzled how cannabis was previously classified as “illegal” and is now “essential”). 

In 2019, I completed the Israel Ministry of Health’s cannabis curriculum for pharmacists. Here too, medical cannabis is still available to patients at the pharmacies and we must ensure this continues throughout the lockdown. 

This is a challenging time for the world, for our families and for the cannabis industry. 

As a Pharmacist and a cannabis entrepreneur, I invite you to reach out to me with any questions you have on any medications including cannabis. I am available and happy to answer any questions you have.

Be careful – there is a lot of misinformation out there that is being shared, and I encourage you to check the source of all information before doing anything. Let’s allow the doctors, nurses, caregivers, and pharmacists to do their work. Keep physically healthy with how you eat and exercise, and keep mentally healthy by taking some positive steps. 

Stay safe and stay home. 

Saul Kaye, Founder & CEO of iCAN: Israel-Cannabis and CannaTech

Co-Founder IsraelPharm: http://israelpharm.com/

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