Educate. Learn. Talk about Marijuana in Florida. 
Let’s talk about Cannabis Use and Your Self-Care
Pharmacists Warn About Cannabis and Prescription Drug Interactions
How To Get a Florida Medical Marijuana ID Card
What Medical and Mental Health Experts Want You To Know
The holiday season is upon us and Covid-19 still a threat. It’s no surprise that people are seeking self-care remedies to help them stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Some are adding cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana, to their self-care routine. 

Join the next Conversations on Cannabis on December 16 at noon to learn about the risks and benefits of using cannabis for self-care.
Think of Pharmacists as a Resource On Drug Interactions with Cannabis
Often overlooked in conversations about medical marijuana treatments is the role of pharmacists. In Florida, your typical pharmacy cannot dispense medical cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) products recommended by a qualified medical marijuana physician. That’s the job of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC’s), which under Florida law must be owned and operated by the same company that grows and cultivates medical marijuana. 

But does such a vertically integrated business structure mean a pharmacist shouldn’t be involved in a medical marijuana patient’s treatment? 

“No,” say pharmacists Dr. Caleshia Herring and Valeria Robinson-Baker, who make a strong case for consulting members of their profession about potential drug interactions with medical marijuana and CBD products, and advise caution on dosing.  
Herring, a “master herbalist” and researcher for a medical marijuana company, has extensive training in medication management, pharmacotherapy, herbal supplementation, and alternative medicine. She’s also knowledgeable on regulatory and law updates concerning Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC’s) operational requirements and Florida patient use requirements. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Florida A&M University (FAMU). 
Robinson-Baker has served as director of pharmacy at four hospitals, and she’s currently running the non-sterile compounding section and hazardous drugs program at Olympia Compounding Pharmacy in Orlando. She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from FAMU and serves on MMERI’s External Advisory Council.

Both say patients should keep their primary care physicians in the loop on recommended medical marijuana treatment regimens, and they encourage talking with pharmacists about concerns over interactions with prescription medications. 
Fortunately, adds Dr. Herring, there are “very, very few major drug interactions” with the cannabis herb. “There are some, but it's not something that's going to kill you like other harsh pharmaceuticals. Marijuana has very minimal to no side effects in most users.”

But that’s not to say cannabis treatments don’t pose some health risks. Robinson-Baker warns against using the prescription blood thinners Warfarin or Coumadin while undergoing cannabis therapies. The mixture could lead to increased bleeding, she says. 

Patients on anti-anxiety drugs and/or taking anti-depressants also should approach medical marijuana with caution, she says, because it “can either accentuate the drugs that you're taking, like Xanax [which is used to treat anxieties], or it can completely minimize or do away with the effect of the drug.”

Dr. Herring adds alcohol and the herbal medicine St. John’s Wort to the list of substances that could negatively interact with cannabis, potentially triggering “psychiatric episodes.”

“Those are some of the things that we as pharmacists can play a primary, actually a very integral role in your healthcare with drugs that interact with your medicinal marijuana,” says Robinson-Baker.

Click here to watch MMERI’s Conversations on Cannabis Virtual Forum on YouTube featuring Pharmacists Dr. Caleshia Herring and Valeria Robinson-Baker. Visit MMERI’s website at
Cannabis News Roundup
How to Get Medical Marijuana in Florida
Only a qualified physician can recommend medical marijuana in Florida. However, a patient still must get a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Card to obtain the drug from an approved treatment center.
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What People Are Saying About Marijuana

During each Conversations on Cannabis virtual forum, we ask audience members to share their views or experiences.

“I have fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and hyperthyroidism. So I have pain all day and can’t sleep. Medical marijuana has given me back my life. “ - L.L., Port Charlotte, FL

“Marijuana is a beneficial drug if used properly.” - M.R., United States

“Medical marijuana is keeping me off opiates. It has cured my insomnia, stress, and appetite especially for me with an auto-immune disease.” R.N., Saint Petersburg, FL

“Coming from the Caribbean I have seen the misuse of the plant in many age groups. It is even used as a way of ‘becoming a man’ and mixed with additional plants to make it ‘stronger.’ I believe this is mostly from culture and the fact that the positives are not spoken enough.” - J.B., United States
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How to get a Florida Medical Marijuana ID Card here.
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