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    Cannabis for Credits

    Clinical rotation gives students unique view of medical cannabis industry.

    Pharmacy students are getting a new kind of education in Illinois.

    Students now have the opportunity to learn about the medical cannabis industry through a new clinical rotation at PDI Medical, a medical cannabis dispensary in Buffalo Grove, IL.

    Joseph Friedman, RPh, Chief Operating Officer at PDI Medical, said he believes the six-week clinical rotation is the first of its kind in the United States.

    The goal of the rotation, he said, is for fourth-year pharmacy students to gain experience and expand their knowledge of the types of medical cannabis while also getting first-hand experience counseling and treating patients who benefit from taking medical cannabis in its various forms. 

    “I think the best way, and this is what the whole idea is behind this clinical rotation, is to sit in and understand cannabis-based therapy over the course of several consultations with patients,” Friedman said.

    Related article: A Solution to the Opioid Crisis?

    The program, which started in the fall of 2016, is a partnership between the dispensary and Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy in Shaumburg, IL.

    PDI Medical also secured an agreement with the University of the Incarnate Word, Feik School of Pharmacy (UIW FSOP) San Antonio, TX after student Michael Contreras learned about the opportunity and wanted the chance to participate as well.

    Contreras, who is just finishing up his rotation at the dispensary, said he reached out to Friedman to set up the partnership between PDI Medical and UIW FSOP because as a student he wanted to stay current with the profession of pharmacy and gain experience that could be beneficial for him in the years ahead.

    “It’s part of the evolution of pharmacy and it’s the future, and to me, that’s what was exciting,” he said.

    As he’s nearing the end of his rotation, Contreras said he’d describe the experience as amazing and highlighted the opportunity he’s had to see how medical cannabis can benefit patients and improve their quality of life.

    “To sit down and listen to them and to have that time to talk to them and listen to what they have to say and what their goals are, to me it’s amazing,” he said.

    Up next: Beyond cannabis

    Jill Sederstrom
    Jill Sederstrom is a Contributing Editor

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