Saturday, April 16, 2016

Nurse Practitioner Marijuana

I believe that the words "Medical" and "Marijuana" are mutually exclusive.  A plant such as cannabis may not be prescribed in plant form by physicians.  We physicians can prescribe four cannabinoids ("Any of a group of closely related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis") as legal, FDA approved pharmaceuticals.  They are not plants of 160 or more chemicals, as is the cannabis plant.  The contents of a puff of marijuana smoke are not exactly known, since there are so many chemicals in dosages that are not known.  That's beyond anything we are licensed or trained to prescribe.

Our profession is defined and limited.  We are being used by parties interested in legalizing smokable marijuana to ignore our profession and become shills for misguided legislators.  There are thousands of medications that I may prescribe as a physician.  There are hundreds of recommendations about vitamins, supplements and foods that I may make professionally if I make the patient aware of the potential limitations of the specific product.  None of these are whole plants.  Many are derived from plants and made into tablets, capsules, IV solutions, etc.

The Ohio legislature is intending to propose "Medical Marijuana" soon.   Ohio Marijuana proposals 
I am against so-called "Medical Marijuana", for which there is no Medical definition.  What if the legislators step in a different direction and call it "Nurse Practitioner Marijuana"?  They have sought independent licensure in Ohio, free of physician encumbrance.  Would the legislature pass a Nurse Practice Marijuana bill as part of a deal to grant them their request?

Would the newly independent nurse practitioners welcome the Nurse Practice Marijuana and dive into setting up the practice network that enables Ohioans with appropriate problems, as defined by legislators, to be treated by their independent nurse practitioner?

In New York there are complaints (Compassionate Marijuana Use Law in NY ) that they haven't registered the needed 30,000 patients that would enable financial success of the vendors.  How many physicians are they expecting to leave primary care practices to prescribe the plants (aka, marijuana)?  We have a huge shortage of primary care physicians in America.  Why ask them to make it worse by spending practice time dealing marijuana prescriptions?

Save the primary care physicians!  Legislate the Nurse Practitioners to be independent marijuana prescribers. Physicians will still prescribe legal cannabinoids and retain the professional identity and some of the integrity of the profession.

OK, I don't really want the nurse practitioners to be used by legislators in this way.  The professions may want to stand together on this issue, although I predict they will both sell out.

What do you think?


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