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Walk-in clinics at Walmart are getting schooled in cannabis

November 4, 2019
walmart

Medical practitioners at Walmart walk-in clinics will soon be equipped to dispense cannabis advice to patients.

That’s right. Medicinal cannabis knowledge is now coming to a Walmart near you.

Spectrum Therapeutics, the medical branch of Canopy Growth, is teaming up with Tree of Knowledge, an international biomedical corporation focused on cannabis products, to deliver online cannabis education at Tree of Knowledge’s partner clinic, Jack Nathan Health.

Located within 74 of Walmart’s 400 Canadian stores, the healthcare clinics serve 1.5 million patients each year.

“The need for patient and provider cannabis education has grown substantially since legalization one year ago,” says Tree of Knowledge chairman Michael Caridi. “This partnership will launch targeted educational campaigns for patients in addition to providing training and support to their healthcare providers.”

The education for doctors on medical cannabis is still very limited.
Dr. Kevin Rod, Director at Tree of Knowledge

The training will include multiple e-learning modules to be released on the group’s online platform, as well as live webinars that will touch on topics like dosing and prescription best practices, opiate reduction, and chronic pain management.

Webinars will be led by experts like Dr. Kevin Rod, director of Toronto Poly Clinic multidisciplinary pain management clinics and chief medical officer at Tree of Knowledge; Canopy Growth’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Ware; and Canopy’s Director of Global Medical Services, Dr. Danial Schecter.

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The partnership will also develop educational tools specifically for patients. There’s an animated video series that touches on topics like pain management and opiate reduction, as well as a customizable journal which helps individuals track their daily cannabis use.

Currently cannabis education for healthcare professionals in Canada is inconsistent. Requirements for doctors issuing medical cannabis prescriptions vary, based on the rules outlined by the College of Physicians and Surgeons in each province or territory.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Medical Protective Association published a piece called Medical cannabis: Considerations for Canadian doctors, which details the requirements for healthcare practitioners issuing medical cannabis as it pertains to each college across the country. However, there’s no dedicated training platform that helps doctors educate patients on recreational consumption.

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The recently announced partnership takes direct aim at the grey area surrounding medicinal cannabis in Canada.

Maybe more useful is the robust digital resource created by the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch at Health Canada, which is designed for medical practitioners looking for cannabis information. It includes peer-reviewed reports on the benefits and risks of cannabis use as well as information on how healthcare professionals should document and report adverse patient reactions to cannabis.

“The education for doctors on medical cannabis is still very limited,” says Dr. Kevin Rod, director at Tree of Knowledge. “Health Canada has resources that are mostly focused on research findings. The College of Family Physicians of Canada has provided a guide for physicians which needs to be updated and adapted to new products and modes of delivery. The provincial colleges, like the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, have provided some practical guidelines on prescribing, but there is still a large room left for further educating physicians on this subject, which is one of the pillars of our focus and activity.”

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The recently announced partnership takes direct aim at the grey area surrounding medicinal cannabis in Canada. With household names like Canopy and Walmart now in the mix, surely the Canadian medical community will be watching to see how this two-year education plan pans out.

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Coleman Molnar

Coleman Molnar is a journalist based in Vancouver, BC.

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