Hello, brethren and sistren readers of Skunk Pharm Research, LLC. My name is Kate and I am thrilled as all-get-out to have been invited to contribute some knowledge based on my particular area of expertise here amongst the incredible collective resource of intelligence, experience and talent that the Skunk Pharm Research Power Trio has already grown.
I’m currently a community pharmacist by trade. I earned my Pharm.D (that’s Doctor of Pharmacy) degree from Oregon State University, and I’ve been helping patients and prescribers pick the right drugs, avoid the wrong ones, and find the best dosages for their particular needs ever since.
I have been a practicing herbalist for at least twice as long as I have been a professional pharmacist, so one of my passions is building a bridge between the worlds of alternative/complementary and conventional medicine, so we can all have the best of both worlds.
So here’s where the cannabis comes in: cannabis extract was part of the official US Pharmacopoiea until 1942, when it was removed for political and economic reasons. I certainly don’t have to tell you all here about its continued use and importance as medicine, subsequently, despite that!
However, largely because of its erasure by modern medicine I’ve noticed an alarming gap in knowledge about the drug between medical professionals and their patients who use cannabis regularly to treat a chronic condition.
Since, for so long, no one was “supposed” to be using it, patients stopped talking about it with their doctors and pharmacists, and the doctors and pharmacists either didn’t want to know or didn’t ask!
It’s my goal, here, to start to remedy this situation by opening up this conversation between patients and medical professionals so we can start to figure out some “best practices” for the use of cannabis to treat chronic medical conditions and its interactions with other drugs.
I do not, myself, use cannabis medicinally, but many of my patients (primarily those treating chronic intractable pain and/or cancer) do. From them I’ve acquired valuable insights about how to treat various conditions with cannabis-as-medicine, and I want to know more. In many cases, I believe that cannabis is the better choice for treatment than pharmaceuticals, and we will explore why that might be so.
However, since most people use both alternative and conventional medicine at various times in their lives, there’s great potential for both synergy (complementary actions) between the two modes, and interactions (situations where the two modes conflict or cancel each other out). For example, if you are over 50 and use cannabis daily, and you are about to have a colonoscopy, you NEED to alert your doctor first (more about why in a future post!).
So, some of the topics I’ll be writing about here include: pharmacokinetics of cannabis (what the body does to the drug); pharmacodynamics of cannabis (what the drug does to the body); summaries of the latest research on the body’s own endocannabinoid system; how various specific components of the cannabis plant may target relief to specific chronic or acute conditions; how to craft specific oral and topical dosage forms from cannabis extracts to get optimal absorption and delivery of its active ingredients.
I’m eager to get Skunk Pharm Research readers’ feedback and questions as well. I must insert the standard disclaimer here that I cannot diagnose or treat any condition over the internet. My research, opinions, and advice should never ever be substituted for a thorough physical examination or the advice of your own trusted health-care practitioners.
Also, readers here should note that I cannot and do not, as a practicing licensed pharmacist bound to state and federal laws, create cannabis extracts or concoct other formulas out of cannabis. Furthermore, even if I did do that (and I would like to someday when it is fully legal for me to do so), I do not and will not make claims about any particular cannabis extract or formulation as having specific healing properties or known effectiveness for treating any medical condition or disease. I am here at Skunk Pharm as a consultant only, with the goal of expanding the safe, ethical, and evidence-based use of cannabis as medicine.
I strongly support the individual’s right to grow and use cannabis (or any other herb for that matter) and treat oneself with it, just as our ancestors have done for millennia. Still, cannabis is a powerful drug that we humans have tinkered with and will continue to tinker with, just like any other drug. And, just like any other drug, it can have both profound and unpredictable effects in any individual patient. I want to share and encourage my respect for that. I hope that I myself am smart enough to know what I DON’T know at any given time, and ask for more information, or for help from someone with more knowledge or experience.
That’s what I really want to do: to help. Sounds cheesy, I know. But it’s a crazy beautiful mixed-up semi-regulated era in the world of cannabis right now, so now is the time to start gathering our resources and separate the snake oil from the hash oil.