(CNS): Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Gent is asking medical professionals and pharmacists to follow the law when it comes to the dispensing and prescription of cannabis products, as all forms of the drug are illegal here unless prescribed by a doctor. After a local pharmacy mistakenly delivered cannabis gummies to a young patient without a prescription, the CMO is advising doctors to prescribe cannabinol derivatives in a medical format.
Although some of types of edibles with low levels of THC are now legal across many American states and Canada, all cannabis products are illegal here unless prescribed by a doctor. While there are some grey areas relating to hemp used in beauty products that can contain traces of THC or cannabinol, this is effectively still illegal in Cayman if there is a cannabinoid in the product.
The CMO recently conducted an inquiry in response to a complaint about a young person becoming ill after a local pharmacy used a service to deliver medicines, including gummies containing cannabis without a valid prescription.
“It became evident, fairly early on, that some healthcare professionals are not certain of what relevant Cayman laws permit or prohibit when it comes to products containing cannabinol or its derivatives,” Dr Gent said in a press release last week. “There are concerning misconceptions where many professionals believe that local law allows for the importation and general sale of products containing cannabinols if derived from hemp and products containing certain forms of psychoactive cannabinol derivatives — mainly the tetrahydrocannabidiol isomers or THCs.”
Speaking to CNS, he explained that there is a lot of confusion about what is legal and what is not. But he urged all those involved in the prescription and sale of cannabis for medical purposes to check the law. In theory, a doctor can prescribe cannabis in candy edibles, he said, but his advice is that doctors should be prescribing medicinal products.
Dr Gent said the misunderstandings are probably due to assumptions by some pharmacists that the laws in the United States are the same as those here in the Cayman Islands. “This is absolutely not the case,” he said, stressing that the legislation here prohibits all cannabis use without a prescription.
Pharmacies are allowed to import all types of medicinal cannabis as well as tonics and tinctures. It appears some also import cannabis edibles as it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe the drug as a medicine in almost any form other than in its natural state.
Dr Gent said he has now issued an advisory note to all healthcare professionals registered as clinical practitioners in the Cayman Islands, warning them to be careful and to only prescribe, dispense or use cannabinol and cannabinol derivative products by reference to the Misuse of Drugs Act (2017 Revision).
He added that there are no exemptions in Cayman Islands law for the importation and sale of hemp-derived products containing THC without a prescription. He also told stakeholders that the use of properly formulated medicines is to be preferred when prescribing cannabinol and cannabinol derivatives for clinical care.
“Our aim is to ensure that all healthcare professionals are informed and compliant, so I encourage any health professional who needs further guidance and assistance to contact me directly,” he said.
Dr Gent confirmed that currently, there are no requirements for pharmacists or doctors to report the prescription and sale of cannabis-related products, but he intends to recommend that the government introduce such regulations.
The CMO said he is currently working on making the case for reporting the prescription of cannabis and other drugs that have public health implications. That would include addictive drugs like opioids such as oxycontin and fentanyl, as well as amphetamines, in order to understand the use and prevalence of these drugs in a medical context in Cayman.
He said that adding cannabis to the list would provide a better understanding of how it is being prescribed. With increasing evidence emerging from the scientific community about where cannabis is actually helpful, he said it was not a bad thing that doctors were helping their patients by prescribing it. The important thing was that everyone involved followed the law as it currently stands.
In 2016, then premier Sir Alden McLaughlin introduced the bill that amended the Misuse of Drugs Act. The aim was to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis for the treatment of cancer and chronic pain, but the law paved the way for medical professionals to make the decision regarding the dosage and the form of cannabis they should give to patients.
While cannabis has since been legalised in Canada and across the majority of the United States both for medical and recreational use, the law here has not changed since the original amendment, and the consumption of ganja remains a crime unless the drug was prescribed to the use by a doctor.
The current PACT administration has announced plans to have a national vote on the issue of decriminalising small amounts of ganja. A private member’s motion passed in the House in December last year that paved the way for a referendum bill to be drafted, which would include the issue of gambling.
However, more than eight months in, there has been no news from the government about when, or if, it plans to hold the referendum.
“Dr Gent confirmed that currently, there are no requirements for pharmacists or doctors to report the prescription and sale of cannabis-related products, but he intends to recommend that the government introduce such regulations.
The CMO said he is currently working on making the case for reporting the prescription of cannabis and other drugs that have public health implications. That would include addictive drugs like opioids such as oxycontin and fentanyl, as well as amphetamines, in order to understand the use and prevalence of these drugs in a medical context in Cayman.”
Is this Nazi Germany ? My medicine is nobody in the Governments business!!! This man must be dipping into the HSA Gummy supply. I will sue every politician that supports this mandatory reporting.
Agreed. My mind races so much that I take hours to fall asleep. I tried over the counter sleeping meds, but they give me horrible nightmares, and I didn’t like the extreme grogginess that prescribed pills gave me.
The prescribed cannabis vape works wonders for my sleep. I don’t have a single nightmare and I drop asleep in a normal time. I wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to go. Admittedly, even when I used to smoke cannabis prior to my med card, it had the same benefit along with reducing my depression.
Idk how they going prove that my demons stopped appearing in my dreams, but I hope they take my word for it when they see the bags under my eyes shrink.
So, a pharmacist sent substances to a young patient and they got sick because the pharmacist wasn’t aware that they were sending a cannabis product to the patient?
That person should not be a pharmacist then. Time for disciplinary action and revocation of Cayman license.
Whether or not the patient files a complaint, the CMO and the Ministry of HEALTH have a duty to ensure all healthcare professionals know the laws in Cayman and are abiding by them – so, discipline the pharmacist and revoke their license.
Betcha all others will know the law quickly after that!
“it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe the drug as a medicine in almost any form other than in its natural state.”
How backwards can we be?? Daily reminder that Juju campaigned against Elvis to say she’d allow us to grow the natural plant instead of having to rely of foreign imports, but here we are, business as usual.
All promises before election, zero delivered after (unless some friend is getting a cut).
Your email address will not be published.
This content was originally published here.