Over the past few years, cannabis has been increasingly accepted into the mainstream as an effective therapy that can produce fewer side effects than other prescription drugs in many patients. This acceptance is reflected in the rapid evolution in legislation surrounding cannabis around the world.
However, due to current regulations, pharmacies in Canada are limited to dispensing medical cannabis via online channels. On a larger scale, even other countries where cannabis has been legalized for therapeutic purposes may be limited in their methods of legally distributing the drug.
Furthermore, many pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are reluctant to dispense, and sometimes even prescribe, medical cannabis. This isn’t because they doubt its efficacy in treating certain symptoms, which has been long proven, but because of the potential variations and inconsistencies that come with working with plant medicine versus more traditional pharmaceuticals.
That reluctance is understandable.
Accustomed to rigorous testing, fixed doses, and universally applicable information, healthcare workers may be hesitant about undertaking the responsibility of providing this ground-breaking and unique form of treatment based solely on patient reviews, instinct, and vague descriptions from licensed producers.
Unfortunately, that reluctance — along with the foot-dragging of regulators to allow pharmacies to dispense cannabis as they would any other drug — renders medical cannabis less accessible than other medications for vulnerable patients. It also leaves pharmacies on the sidelines of what could potentially represent a massive financial windfall for the industry as a whole.
But despite the apparent challenges faced by pharmacies in dispensing cannabinoid-based medicine, there is a solution.
Blockchain technology can be implemented to help pharmacies worldwide adopt the sale of cannabis products, be they high in tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant), the increasingly popular cannabidiol (or CBD, a psychoactive but non-intoxicating compound in cannabis), or other therapeutic elements derived from the plant. As the legalization of cannabis continues its rapid spread across the globe, legislators and healthcare workers are increasingly looking for a means of providing citizens and patients with safe, accountable access to effective, cannabis-based medications.
And while the barriers around the distribution of cannabis in a pharmacy setting are often portrayed as insurmountable due to concerns surrounding consistency, security, liability, and accountability, blockchain can help safely and reliably integrate cannabis into a pharmacy setting by providing quality assurance and control that spans the entire supply chain.
Implementing blockchain into pharmacies can address the numerous concerns surrounding medical cannabis by providing a secure, central database that tracks the potency, THC, CBD levels, and — most crucially — variations between batches. Armed with this information, healthcare professionals and pharmacists can consult an up-to-date, science-based source of secure information from a trusted supplier, which facilitates easier, more consistent dosing. This also allows pharmacists to be aware of — and work around — any variations in products and batches, bypassing many of the previously-held caveats of prescription cannabis.
With such a comprehensive source of tracking and data, pharmacies can ensure that patients are more accurately matched with the medical cannabis product that will best suit their health and wellness needs, be it an oil, extract, dried flower, or edible, and regulators can feel confident in creating legislation that reflects the security that can only be provided by blockchain tech.
A blockchain cannabis database created on a secure framework benefits patients, pharmacists, healthcare workers, regulators, and business owners, improving the accessibility and efficacy of medical cannabis. Blockchain ensures the safety and value of this multi-tasking drug that many patients refer to as a miracle in symptom management.
Integrated into one of the most complex industries, blockchain technology can help legislation catch up with the exciting developments in cannabis medicine. At the same time, implementing blockchain in pharmacies can help provide patients with a wider variety of treatment options. In a fast-paced industry, where innovation drives growth, blockchain is the next step in encouraging access and security for cannabinoid-based medicine.