Making Informed Decisions on Medical Marijuana

May 09, 2017 at 12:52 am by Staff


(Updated) Now that the Florida Legislature has punted the rules decisions to the Florida Department of Health, July 3 will see the implementation of some form of program affecting nearly a half million qualified patients in the state.

Fewer than 700 of some 50,000 Florida-licensed physicians are registered with the state Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) to recommend or order medical marijuana. To prepare for the unprecedented demand, Canna Holdings is hosting a day-long symposium 30 days before the law goes into effect.

Space is available for up to 300 participants - physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists - for the "Medical Marijuana: an Educational Symposium for Florida Physicians" slated for Saturday, June 3, at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek in Orlando. The day-long program begins with breakfast at 7 a.m., includes lunch, and concludes at 4 p.m.

A roster of esteemed researchers, physicians, medical practitioners, attorneys and industry experts representing states that have already legalized medical marijuana will headline the symposium, where attendees may receive up to six CME, ANCC or ACPE credits.

"License holders are rolling out dispensaries very quickly," said Gregg Weiss, president of Florida-based Canna Holdings. "Without physicians taking the required coursework to recommend medical marijuana, there isn't going to be any market."

Education is a key component to a successful rollout of the medical marijuana program in Florida, Weiss emphasized. "The number one question I get is, 'Am I going to lose my DEA license if I pass (the required test)?' and the answer is no," said Weiss, who plans to have an attorney available for business-related questions surrounding medical marijuana. "If physicians don't have the facts, along with recent science and research, it'll be nearly impossible for the projected half a million patients in Florida to have proper access to this medicine."

Dustin Sulak, MD, pointed out that endocannabinoid physiology is omitted from nearly every medical school curriculum. "It's time for healthcare providers to discover what researchers know to be one of the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health," he said.

Weiss noted that most physicians in favor of dispensing medical marijuana have already registered with the OCU, or are in the midst of the registration process.

"Most physicians who attended the last two symposiums are on the fence about the use of medical marijuana," said Weiss. "They're interested. They want to learn more. They want to talk to physicians who have done it before."

The symposium lineup will cover the physiology of the endocannabinoid systems, methods for making dosage and delivery system choices, and ways to use cannabis for military-related PTSD treatment, pain relief, neurodegenerative diseases and more.

The topics and speakers on the agenda are:

  • "The Endocannabinoid System: Master of Homeostasis, Pain Control ..." Jordan Tishler, MD, an emergency medicine specialist, will emphasize practical aspects of treatment of patients with chronic pain, while also touching on dosing, administration, and preparations.
  • "Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Movement Disorders." Juan Sanchez-Ramos, MD, PhD, a neurology professor at the University of South Florida, will contrast age-dependent neurological changes with more severe alterations in the endocannabinoid system.
  • "Delivery and Dosage of Cannabis Medicine." Deborah Malka, MD, PhD, will discuss how to choose between six delivery systems for cannabis, and weigh the benefits and risk of each one.
  • "Researching Medical Cannabis Navigating Barriers to Efficacy Research." Sue Sisley, MD, an Arizona-based internal medicine physician and psychiatrist, will discuss her experience as site principal investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial examining the safety and efficacy of whole plant marijuana in combat veterans with treatment-resistance PTSD.
  • "Cannabis as Medicine: Redefining the Paradigm of the Doctor-Patient Relationship." Jack D'Angelo, MD, CMO of CITIVA, a New York-based medical cannabis company, will cover establishing the responsibilities of the patient and provider during cannabis therapy treatments.

Also on tap: Two panels, one focusing on physicians and the other patient-centered. The patient-centered panel is comprised of parents of an epileptic child and an adult with terminal brain cancer.

"Our symposium will confront the many issues Florida physicians are facing with this new medical marijuana program, which will start whether or not we're ready for it," said Weiss.


Saturday, June 3, 7 am-4 pm

Medical Marijuana: Educational Symposium for Florida Physicians

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek,

14651 Chelonia Parkway, Orlando

For more information, visit here

Sections: Orlando Regulatory