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Medical practitioners being certified to prescribe medical marijuana

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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THE Ministry of Health says it is training medical practitioners to be certified prescribers of medical marijuana.

In fact, scores of practitioners have already been trained and the ministry said the next course of training will begin in October.

“To date, 39 physicians, 22 pharmacists, two scientific researchers, and 17 National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) staff members have been trained by NeuroPsych Services Ltd,” the ministry said in a release yesterday.

According to the release, the Ministry of Health, through its Medicinal Cannabis Unit (MCU), is responsible for the registration and regulation of all cannabis and cannabis-related products, including hemp as well as all precursor products that are manufactured for medicinal cannabis use, produced both locally and imported for use in Jamaica.

The ministry said the MCU is responsible for issuing and regulating all licenses or permits for medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products locally.

The release said that part of the ministry's role is to regulate the medical marijuana industry, which involves training.

“To be able to recommend or prescribe medicinal cannabis in Jamaica, registered physicians must first be certified in the use of medicinal cannabis,” the ministry said, adding that after completing the accredited course they receive a certificate of registration to recommend medicinal cannabis in Jamaica, appearing on the ministry's register which will be shared with the pharmacy council and pharmacies in Jamaica.

“This certification is renewable every two years,” the release continued. “Pharmacists completing the course receive a certificate of completion. Physicians with similar and verifiable training elsewhere can also become registered by the Ministry of Health to prescribe or recommend medicinal cannabis in Jamaica. The certification is supported by the Medical Association of Jamaica and the NCDA.”

Meanwhile, the ministry said the proposed regulations are being finalised and will be submitted to Cabinet soon.

“The proposed regulations will outline guidelines on the extraction of specific cannabis products for research and medicinal purposes — where there is scientific evidence for the use of these substances for specific conditions — and will, among other things, stipulate who may recommend/prescribe medicinal cannabis,” the ministry said.

So far, nine medicinal cannabis products have been registered with the Ministry of Health, three of which have been approved since June 2017, the release said.

The ministry is also insisting that guidelines have been implemented to allow for a smooth registration process for products manufactured, both locally and overseas, and applications are currently being accepted by the Medicinal Cannabis Unit for medicinal cannabis.


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