The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will soon provide patients with medical cannabis products on site via its Odette Cancer Centre Pharmacy. This may be the first time a hospital will offer cannabis as a treatment option.
According to information procured exclusively ahead of an official announcement, the initiative, led in partnership with publicly traded cannabinoid biotech company Avicanna Inc., will make the company’s RHO Phyto product line available to Sunnybrook patients under a doctor’s prescription. The deal also includes patient and physician education components.
“Patients have questions about, and want access to, plant-based cannabinoids, and that requires healthcare professionals to become knowledgeable about the use of cannabinoids for medical purposes,” said Carlo DeAngelis, pharmacist and researcher at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre.
According to the clinician, the team’s number one priority is patient safety. And this collaboration will help Sunnybrook “ensure patients have access to plant-based cannabinoid products of high quality as well as provide education focused on dosing, monitoring of symptoms and effects on concurrent anti-cancer treatments.”
How It’s Possible
While most big healthcare institutions around the globe remains reluctant to prescribing cannabis as medicine, some forward-thinkers are already looking at the plant and its compounds under a different light.
In Canada, however, regulations do allow hospitals with “appropriate infrastructure” to store and dispense certain medical cannabis products. And this is the opportunity Sunnybrook and Avicanna are leveraging, the cannabis company’s CEO Aras Azadian explained.
Through this collaboration the organization intend to set a high bar for the industry, “a gold standard of care for cannabinoid-based medicine supported by education and training of authorizing physicians, pharmacists and patients combined with standardized products and a complete patient support program managed by the Sunnybrook pharmacy team.
“This is an incredibly significant development for Avicanna as it validates our medical focus and credibility with the healthcare community. This first of its kind collaboration with a major Canadian medical institution substantiates the need and importance of a comprehensive cannabinoid-based medicine program that includes standardized, inhalation-free, and accurately dosed products that are supported by education and patient support programs,” Azadian added.
Avicanna will supply its RHO Phyto products to Sunnybrook Hospital through a partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart’s platform Medical Cannabis by Shoppers.
“We look forward to the collaboration with the Sunnybrook team, improving on the learnings and pioneering the standard of care with cannabinoid-based medicine that could improve patient outcomes, quality of life and increase the medical community’s confidence in cannabinoid-based medicine,” Azadian concluded.
In March, Avicanna closed a deal to license the brand of NBA star Al Harrington, Viola, and use it to create specific formulations for sale across medical and consumer retail channels in Canada. Through this agreeent, Viola became the first black-owned multinational cannabis company in the world.