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Empower Your Patients: An Open Letter From a Pharmacist

By Dr. Kevin Baumgartner

What should I know about the LMP program and why should I care? For those unfamiliar, LMP stands for Limited Medical Provider. As of January 2022, the Utah cannabis program allows for certain prescribers to recommend cannabis for up to 15 patients without becoming fully certified to issue cannabis cards. The prescribers included are physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, and podiatrists who can prescribe controlled substances.

From a patient standpoint you may need to start the conversation and somewhat educate your physician (we hope this blog piece may start that conversation), as many of them may not know about this program or even the cannabis program in general. From a prescriber standpoint it gives you the opportunity to learn about the benefits of a medication we, as medical professionals, are not typically taught about. By recommending cannabis to a small number of patients you are in theory creating your own in-house study. You will be able to monitor your patients’ conditions and see what improvements there might be in said conditions. One other nice part is that you can turn the counseling of your patients over to the pharmacists. Some physicians have not felt comfortable about this as traditionally you diagnose and then prescribe the right treatment. However, I see this as more of a collaboration and trust between health care professionals. We can work together to answer questions and it frees up your time and comfort knowing a medical professional who is knowledgeable will talk with and help your patients.

Why might cannabis work for these conditions? There is more information on this than can be explained in a single blog. The short answer lies within the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which helps regulate many other systems in our bodies. There are 2 separate receptors that cannabinoids will act on, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. We have certain endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, produced in our body that act on these receptors. Just like any other system, sometimes these don’t get activated enough, or too much, which can throw off all sorts of things in our bodies. So we try to regulate these endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids.

There have been more than 100 phytocannabinoids discovered within the cannabis plant, THC being the most well known, but we are also learning much promising information about non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD and CBG that show they can aid with pain, inflammation, and sleep. Many medical cannabis products contain varying ratios of these cannabinoids so that patients can find the right balance they need. So rest assured it's not just about getting the highest amount of THC or getting everyone “high.” The patients will sit down with our pharmacists and talk about these cannabinoids and other aspects to help the patient find the right medicine for them.

Ideally you will find that many of your patients will discover an additional amount of relief for their conditions. After putting this to the test you may be interested in becoming a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP). Becoming a QMP will then open the door for many more patients to benefit from this medicine. Dragonfly Wellness’ mission is to empower our patients to take back control, but our patients are your patients first. Help us empower them.