Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world in which everybody got exactly the right healthcare from skilled providers who knew their stuff? We know that world doesn’t exist, but that shouldn’t stop us from improving healthcare as much as possible. This is one of the reasons that we firmly believe qualified medical providers (QMPs) and Pharmacy Medical Providers (PMPs) should work together on behalf of their patients.
State law allows QMPs to recommend use and dosage directions to patients. They can also defer to a PMP. But nothing in the law prevents QMP and PMP from working together. Nothing prevents them from consulting with one another about a patient’s response to Medical Cannabis.
Let’s face it, QMPs and PMPs have different bodies of knowledge. They have different skill sets. Remember that a QMP is a doctor, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse who has been certified by the state to recommend Medical Cannabis. The PMP is a licensed pharmacist, working at a Utah Medical Cannabis pharmacy, who has been certified by the state to dispense cannabis medicines.
The differences between a QMP and a PMP are nearly identical to the differences between medical providers and pharmacists in a non-cannabis setting. Both categories of professionals are fully trained and licensed by the state. But their training is different. Therefore, their responsibilities to patients are different, too.
All this may sound pretty basic, but there is still plenty of confusion about how the system works. The QMP’s primary role is to diagnose a patient’s condition, offer treatment and prognosis, and then help the patient manage their health. The bulk of a PMP’s training occurs in medical school. However, medical schools do not spend a lot of time training future clinicians about drugs and the effects these have on the body.
Budding medical providers learn about biology, physiology, pathology, and a whole bunch of other “-ologies.” It is not practical for them to study all that stuff and then have to learn about pharmacology as well. That is why there is a distinction between doctor and pharmacist.
Outside of the Metal Cannabis setting, a doctor may prescribe a particular medication to treat a particular condition. But then the doctor relies on a pharmacist to ensure that the prescribed medication is appropriate. It is also the pharmacist’s responsibility to make sure the medication is dispensed properly and that the patient knows how to use it.
A PMP does for Medical Cannabis patients what a standard pharmacist does for patients using other prescription drugs. Note that a PMP also goes to school before being licensed to practice. But pharmacists don’t go to medical school, they go to pharmacy school.
Their exposure to things like biology and pathology are not as extensive as the future doctor in medical school. Instead, PMPs spend more time studying pharmacology. They learn about drugs. They learn how those drugs affect a variety of human systems. They also learn about something that is critical to Medical Cannabis use, something budding doctors don’t learn: the ins and outs of the human endocannabinoid system.
All of this explains why QMPs and PMPs should work together on behalf of their patients. The QMP is the most qualified to determine if a patient has a qualifying condition and will be best served by Medical Cannabis. The PMP is the most qualified to help patients use their medicines safely and to the best possible advantage. When the two work together, the patient gets the right kind of healthcare that improves quality of life.