The history of pharmacy and pharmacist is already an ancient history, with a very clear narrative over the years: to improve the quality of life of citizens and fight the disease!
The identification of the moment when for the first time there is a search for a substance with the aim of curing is not certain, but it is known that for almost 3000 years that in Asia “remedies” were obtained through the extraction of compounds from plants. In Portugal, the first apothecaries appeared in the 15th century, where their main area of activity was the preparation of medicinal medicines.
Currently, the role of the pharmacist as a health agent is much more distributed, focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on health promotion, information and rational use of medication. Under the bulwark of a rigorous code of ethics, it also has a duty to continually update its knowledge to keep up with scientific and technological development.
With regard to the medicinal use of cannabis in Portugal and following the global trend, Law nº 33 / 2018, of 18 July, is approved in Parliament, which forms the legal framework for the use of medicines, preparations and substances based on the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes, namely prescription and dispensing in pharmacy. “Cannabis plant-based medicines, preparations and substances” are understood as the leaves and flowering or fruiting juices of the plant, oil and other standardized extracts or preparations extracted or obtained from the cannabis plant and “use for medicinal purposes »The use of drugs, preparations and substances based on the cannabis plant, when prescribed by a doctor, with a special medical prescription, in order to explore its medicinal properties. The prescription must mention an identification of the user and the physician, an identification of the drug, preparation and substance based on the cannabis plant to be dispensed, the quantity and dosage, as well as the route and method of administration. Prescription can only be carried out if conventional treatments with formulated drugs are not eliminated to produce the expected effects or if they generate relevant adverse effects. With regard to dispensing, this is done at the community pharmacy by a pharmacist, always after the purchaser’s identity has been verified.
Recognizing the importance of the pharmacist in the medicinal use of cannabis and the need to sensitize professionals to a reality that is still in its infancy in Portugal, the Portuguese Association of Young Pharmacists (APJF) and the Regional Section of the South and Autonomous Regions of the Ordem dos Farmacêuticos ( SRSRA-OF), in partnership with Tilray Portugal, organized two digital functions with the aim of training pharmacists as experienced professionals in the use of the medicine.
Throughout the two supplies, topics such as the endocannabinoid system, dosage and administration routes and an important perspective of the citizen were discussed. The participation of the pharmacists at the event surpassed all expectations and the common interdisciplinary debate led to a fruitful discussion with a consensual final conclusion among all those present: the patient’s health must always be at the center of any decision.
Aware of the continuing importance of this topic for pharmacists, the APJF and the SRSRA-OF at this time, with the support of a Scientific Committee, are developing a e-book under the theme “Cannabis-based Medicines, Preparations and Substances for medicinal purposes” with clarifying and clarifying the legal and regulatory framework, addressing evidence-based practice and particularizing pharmaceutical intervention.
The pharmacist as a medicine specialist is the professional who has the technical-scientific competence to ensure an informed dispensing and the correct use of medicinal cannabis, intervening in a way to ensure the highest quality, efficacy and safety of pharmacotherapy, thus having a role fundamental in the medicinal use of cannabis.