Will Online Pharmacies Ever Carry Medical Cannabis Products?
Online pharmacies serve a vital role in giving consumers access to prescription medications at lower prices. A typical online pharmacy carries all the most prescribed medications including antibiotics and ED drugs. But they do not carry everything. None of them carry medical cannabis products. Will they ever? That remains to be seen.
Medical cannabis currently occupies the pharmaceutical version of no man’s land. It is surrounded by unanswered legal questions. Dealing in medical cannabis includes a certain element of risk that may be too much for pharmacies to take on. And of course, many of the states that have legalized medical cannabis only allow it to be dispensed in specialized pharmacies.
At the current time, online pharmacies in both the US and Canada do not carry medical cannabis products. You cannot go to the Canada Pharmacy website to buy cannabis tinctures, oils, and gummies. It might be possible at some point in the future, but not now.
Laws Need to Be Reconciled
A lot has to happen before online pharmacies can fill medical cannabis prescriptions. The first thing is legal reconciliation. As things currently stand, federal and state laws conflict. Cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance according to federal regulations. Meanwhile, three dozen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis.
Until the differences between federal and state law are reconciled, online pharmacies have few options. They are limited in that they get prescription medications to customers by shipping them. Shipping companies will not touch medical cannabis because they don’t want to be charged with drug trafficking across state lines.
Ironically, the US postal system will ship cannabis products as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. But even so, postal workers unfamiliar with the law have a history of confiscating or delaying shipments under the mistaken belief that they constitute illegal marijuana trafficking.
None of this goes away as long as marijuana remains unchanged at the federal level. An easy solution is to either reschedule the drug or decriminalize it altogether.
Liability Issues Need to Be Resolved
Liability issues also have to be addressed before online pharmacies can start carrying medical cannabis products. Remember that pharmacies are liable for every product they dispense. This is why a legitimate pharmacy, online or otherwise, employs at least one licensed pharmacist. You need someone who knows what they are doing overseeing prescription fulfillment.
Medical cannabis comes with additional liability due to the conflicts in federal and state laws. But beyond that, it is not easy to find certified pharmacists who are legally allowed to dispense it. Pharmacists generally don’t like to get involved because they are worried about their own liability. That has to change before medical cannabis products can be sold at online pharmacies.
Prescriptions Have to Be Standardized
Finally, traditional pharmacies will not start carrying medical cannabis products until prescriptions are standardized. That won’t happen until Washington either reschedules or decriminalizes the drug. For now, doctors cannot legally write cannabis prescriptions. They can only recommend that patients use medical cannabis. It is up to patients to determine what cannabis products work for them, with the assistance of a cannabis pharmacist.
The need for standards should be obvious. A company like Canada Pharmacy has to know exactly what they are shipping in terms of both the volume and dosage. If patients are allowed to pick and choose medications themselves, the pharmacy loses control. That is a recipe for disaster.
Will online pharmacies ever carry medical cannabis products? Perhaps they will at some point in the future. A lot must change before that can happen, though.