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Pharmacy Program Introduces Medical Cannabis Concentration


February 16, 2022

Pharmacist prescribing medical cannabis for patient treatmentToday, medical cannabis has been legalized in 37 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As a result, an estimated two to three million patients are receiving treatment with the drug for conditions such as neurological disorders, opioid dependence, inflammatory diseases and sickle cell anemia.

In response to the need for experts within dispensaries, Doctor of Pharmacy students at PCOM Georgia may now customize their degree program by choosing a concentration in medical cannabis.

The new medical cannabis concentration is a result of a collaboration between Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) and Organic Remedies, a Pennsylvania-approved marijuana research center and clinical registrant partner, with dispensary locations across Pennsylvania. PCOM and Organic Remedies have signed a long-term agreement to conduct research on the therapeutic applications of medical marijuana.

Julie Wickman, PharmD, assistant dean of clinical and experiential affairs for the PCOM School of Pharmacy, notes that pharmacists are the only individuals who can dispense cannabis in Pennsylvania. She explained that PCOM’s pharmacy students will begin this concentration as early as this fall and receive training at a Philadelphia-area dispensary in their fourth year of the program. Dr. Wickman said, “This concentration also covers federal and state-wide policies and the current legislative landscape in Georgia.“

Michael Lee, PhD, assistant dean for professional and student affairs for the School of Pharmacy, said, “Because of the central role that pharmacists play in medical cannabis, the current and projected workforce needs across the country are enormous. We hope to position PCOM as a leader in this area by offering this unique training experience.“

The evolving use of medical cannabis by patients provides opportunities for pharmacists to consult with these patients and develop treatment plans according to their condition and physicians’ recommendations. Pharmacists are also key to ensuring compliance with state regulations.

According to Dr. Lee, upon completion of the concentration, students will:

  • Be knowledgeable about the pharmacology of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, and their appropriate use for qualifying conditions.
  • Understand basic dosing and routes of administration recommendations for medical cannabis.
  • Be familiar with federal and state regulations related to dispensing of medical cannabis and the importance of regulatory compliance.
  • Have experience interacting with patients to aid in product selection based upon their individual symptoms.
  • Understand methods of inventory control.

The medical cannabis concentration requires the completion of six credit hours of elective coursework, including one elective course during the third year and one elective rotation on site at Organic Remedies during the fourth year.

In addition to the medical cannabis concentrations, PCOM School of Pharmacy students may choose to concentrate in acute care, ambulatory care or managed care.

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.

    For more information, contact:
    Barbara Myers
    Senior Public Relations Manager
    Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

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