Among other findings, Richmond physician Dr. Amrish Joshi (pictured above) hopes his forthcoming VCHRI research project will expand medical knowledge around how dispensary staff educates themselves about the medicinal uses of cannabis. He also hopes to clarify how, or if, dispensaries communicate with primary care providers.

Richmond physician studies cannabis dispensaries

Dr. Amrish Joshi, a palliative physician member of the Richmond Integrated Hospice Palliative Care Team, knows people often rely on the likes of compassion clubs and marijuana dispensaries to provide them with medical cannabis during end-of-life care.

But, according to Joshi, poor education and misinformation has resulted in conflict between societal concerns and best medical treatment when it comes to the use of medical cannabis. In fact, Joshi’s previous research highlighted the need for medicinal and recreational uses of cannabis to be disentangled when considering evidence-based prescribing.

“These influences impact how patients may ask for or get access to medicinal cannabis, and how physicians support their patients in accessing it,” Joshi said.

To this end, Joshi’s second study, conducted though Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), will explore the relationship between cannabis dispensaries and the patients seeking out cannabis for their health conditions. It will include a survey of no fewer than 30 cannabis dispensaries in both Metro Vancouver and Victoria to determine how patients access medicinal cannabis, and how physicians support the request.

Q and A format

The survey will include 20 questions that will be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Joshi’s study is hoping to build on how patients access medicinal cannabis and the supports available through dispensaries.  Although a number of dispensaries are known to  provide a “social service” which includes education and support groups,  it is not clear how dispensaries communicate with primary care providers.

“We hope to highlight these areas and propose further studies that facilitate on-going support and education for patients and physicians with medicinal cannabis,” Joshi said.

Via his study, Joshi hopes that the responses will expand knowledge around how dispensary staff educate themselves about the medicinal uses of cannabis, what information they pass on to clients, how cannabis providers counsel individuals seeking cannabis for their health conditions, the types of conditions they’re asked to help treat, and the kinds of questions patients ask.

“At the end of the day this study is about facilitating the care we provide to palliative patients and other patients going to dispensaries,” he said. “This is also about the support and education physicians may need when it comes to prescribing medicinal cannabis.”

One comment

  1. Petrina Wing says:

    I am encouraged to see this research going on. I work in EOL care and many clients are accessing/using cannabis for a whole variety of symptoms. The more research the better, in order to help our clients and MDs!

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