Pharmacy Group Conference Focuses On Medical Marijuana


Graphic: PHenry

​As pharmacists and drug regulators from across the United States meet in Tucson this week, marijuana will be headlining the agenda.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) opens its symposium today with presentations on medical marijuana by experts including Caren Woodson, government affairs director with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s largest advocacy group focused on the issue.

Americans for Safe Access
Caren Woodson, ASA: “We welcome the interest in medical marijuana”

​”We welcome the interest in medical marijuana by the Boards of Pharmacy and want to work with them to address this public health issue,” Woodson said. “State Boards of Pharmacy can have an impact on medical marijuana and we want to work with them to adopt sensible policies.”
As an example of the kind of impacts state boards of pharmacy can have, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy has been ordered to remove marijuana from its state list of Schedule I drugs, per legislation signed by Governor Kulongoski in August. In addition, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy is currently looking at rescheduling marijuana as a result of litigation.
Woodson is co-presenting a panel with Barry D. Dickinson, the director of science and biotechnology for the American Medical Association (AMA), and Alice Mead, director of U.S. public relations for GW Pharmaceuticals, a U.K.-based company conducting clinical trials for a medical marijuana extract.
The panel, entitled “Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?” will be presented Thursday morning.
Later, Woodson will participate in a point-counterpoint on medical marijuana with Dickinson, Mead and other experts, including Andrea Barthwell, former deputy director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and other marijuana researchers.
Attendees at the NABP symposium will be able to earn continuing pharmacy education credit for their participation in medical marijuana panels.
The NABP symposium follows a report on medical marijuana issued last month by the AMA, in which the largest physician group in the United States urged the federal government to review the Schedule I status for marijuana.
The AMA noted that marijuana appears to be effective in combating the symptoms of several health conditions, and said further research is needed to asses whether cannabis should continue to be considered a dangerous drug with no medical value.