Jamaican pharmacists design new approach to medical cannabis training

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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JAMAICAN pharmacists can now access a new “farm to pharmacy” short course developed by the UTech Pharmacy Alumni (UPA) and the Caribbean Institute of Pharmacy Policy Practice and Research (CIPPPAR), located at the University of Technology (UTech), here.

The four-month course brings together expertise from Jamaica and the USA.

The course developer is associate professor, UTech, Jamaica, Ellen Campbell Grizzle, with support from Leaf of Life Jamaica Ltd. “We looked at the offerings now available for pharmacists in the medical cannabis space and recognised that these were not adequate for the needs of the medical cannabis patient and industry in emerging states and cultures like ours. The dynamics in our situation require that we avoid segmenting pharmacists' training as narrowly as done elsewhere. The course builds on the strong training in pharmacology and dosing that pharmacists possess,” Dr Grizzle said.

Local and international collaborators

Organisers said a number of local and international partners are adding their expertise and cutting edge technology to the training.

Dr Moe Afaneh, a pharmacist and chief operations officer of BioTrackTHC — a leader in seed-to-sale technology — will anchor the segment that focuses on the value of seed-to-sale technologies, and policies to support this.

Additional training for technicians along with special equipment to support the course was donated to UTech, Jamaica by BioTrackTHC and their partner MainStem. Technical expertise in the area of pharmacology, prescribing and dispensing of medical cannabis comes from Leaf of Life Jamaica Limited. Professor Don Land from University of California at Davis and Steep Hill Incorporated leads the sessions on extraction and analysis. Scheril Murray Powell of Green Roads, an attorney-at-law who specialises in cannabis business is supports the comparative legislative component. Jamaican pharmacists Michael Patterson and Dr Thelma Nelson provide expertise on product formulation and the chemistry and biological aspects of the course, respectively.

UTech, Jamaica affiliates, Camano Jamaica Limited and Timeless Herbal Care will facilitate the field experience, a novel component of the course. The course is primarily online and participants are required to complete an action research project that offers solution- oriented outcomes.

The first cohort will complete their course in November 2018. “We are confident that our approach to training will be meaningful to our pharmacists and attract the attention of pharmacists regionally and globally,” Dr Campbell Grizzle said.

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