Pubdate: Tue, 03 May 2016
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2016 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Lauren Zumbach


Pharmacy Chain Says Info on Blog Not Endorsement

A recent post on Walgreens' blog raised eyebrows in the medical 
marijuana community.

Titled "Clarifying Clinical Cannabis," the post, written by a 
resident pharmacist at Walgreens and the University of Illinois at 
Chicago, isn't an endorsement.

"The content is strictly informative, and nowhere do we take any 
stance on the issue. It was developed to address some of the 
questions we've received from patients and customers through various 
channels," Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn said in an email.

Few national brands have been willing to broach the topic. 
Washington, D.C., and 24 states, including Illinois, have approved 
the use of medical cannabis for certain health conditions, but 
marijuana remains illegal under federal law and is still classified 
as a Schedule 1 drug - a category that includes heroin.

Alan Brochstein, founder of 420 Investor, an online community for 
investors in the cannabis industry, at first thought it was a hoax 
because it was "too good to be true."

"They're speaking honestly, sharing facts and links to studies," said 
Brochstein, who said he couldn't recall a major company providing 
similar information.

A disclaimer on the post states the Deerfield-based pharmacy chain is 
not a licensed medical marijuana provider.

The author, Dahlia Sultan, noted marijuana has not yet been approved 
for national use by the Food and Drug Administration, and research 
has indicated it may impair lungs, memory and judgment.

"However, research has also shown marijuana provides pain relief in 
ways traditional pain medicines don't," wrote Sultan, who declined to 
comment and referred questions to Walgreens.

Feliza Castro, CEO and founder of The Healing Clinic, a medical 
marijuana patient advocacy center with offices in Chicago's Lakeview 
neighborhood and Highland Park, said some groups such as the Epilepsy 
Foundation and National Cancer Institute have shared information 
about the topic, but many have been reluctant to address it.

"In the larger scheme of things, the fact that they allowed it to be 
published means something," said Brochstein, of Houston, who wrote 
about the blog post on New Cannabis Ventures, an industry website. 
"When you see an institution that could be adversarial allowing 
publication of material that's certainly not negative and could be 
positive, that's pretty cool."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom