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Focus on Dr. Jordan Tishler and the Newly Formed Association of Cannabis Specialists, or ACS

ACS proudly announces the launch of their new education based website for ACS – The Association of Cannabis Specialists. The new website caters to members as well as non-members by providing a forum for these groups to learn, engage and gather information about cannabis medicine and make informed decisions.

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AUTHOR: Heather Allman

PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT

ABOUT THE ACS

The Association of Cannabis Specialists ensures the highest standards in the practice of cannabis medicine, safeguards patient care with clinical best practices, and interfaces with other stakeholders in the cannabis community. We believe that patients are uniquely vulnerable and have very different needs than recreational users. We provide evidence and experience-based education for patients, cannabis clinicians, referring clinicians, and lawmakers to help them understand cannabis medicine and make informed decisions. We are an advocacy organization striving to provide guidance on best practices in the laws and regulations at the federal, state, and international levels.

ACS proudly announces the launch of their new education based website for ACS – The Association of Cannabis Specialists. The new website caters to members as well as non-members by providing a forum for these groups to learn, engage and gather information about cannabis medicine and make informed decisions.

PRESS RELEASE

THE ASSOCIATION OF CANNABIS SPECIALISTS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

Provides Educational Forum for Medicinal Cannabis Professionals, Patients and Lawmakers

BROOKLINE, Mass. – 11/17/2020 – The Association of Cannabis Specialists (ACS) launched a new education-based website for medical cannabis professionals, patients and lawmakers, the advocacy organization announced today.

 The ACS provides evidence and experience-based education for patients, cannabis clinicians, referring clinicians, and lawmakers to help them understand cannabis medicine and make informed decisions. Additionally, the ACS strives to provide guidance on best practices in the laws and regulations at the federal, state, and international levels.

The new website caters to members as well as non-members by providing a forum for these groups to learn, engage and gather information, among other offerings.

“We’re so pleased to be a one-stop resource to our members and non-members alike,” said Dr. Jordan Tishler MD, President of the ACS and Director of Inhale MD, a medical practice dedicated to treating patients with medical cannabis.

Dr. Tishler continued, “Not only can our members gain CME credits beginning in 2021, but they also have the opportunity to engage with their peers while becoming educated on important developments in medical cannabis. We’re excited to offer our non-members everything from the ability to locate a cannabis practitioner to accessing a trove of educational resources.”

 

INTERVIEW WITH DR. JORDAN TISHLER OF THE ASSOCIATION OF CANNABIS SPECIALISTS 

Dr. Jordan Tishler of the Association of Cannabis Specialists and inhaleMD

On December 15, 2020, I had the opportunity to talk with Boston-based Cannabis specialist, Jordan Tishler, MD.  Dr. Tishler is Harvard faculty, President and Founder of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, and runs his own medical practice, inhaleMD. Dr. Tishler has a wealth of cannabis knowledge to share.

Cannabis Law Report: Why do you love your work? There are quite a few fast-growing markets currently, so why cannabis?   


My background is very conventional.  After 3 stints at Harvard they call you Preparation-H. I trained in Internal Medicine and practiced Emergency Medicine for about 20 years, the last 15 at the VA medical center.

I got into cannabis medicine because I saw there was a wealth of scientific data that could be used to help people, but because of the political climate, that data was being denied. Once I knew the data, I was duty-bound to use it to help patients.

I have a great interest in the cannabis industry, but at the same time I have no time for the myriad of folks who seem to think they’ll get rich plying cannabis to sick people. I am deeply involved in product development and educational programs, and they’re always science-driven and put patients’ needs above profits. 

CLR: Why specifically do you think Association of Cannabis Specialists needed to be formed? Or, what was your personal intention initially jumping into the medical cannabis specialist space? 


When a scientist friend started kidding me about being a unicorn – that I was the only doctor in the world who wanted to take care of patients with science, integrity, and compassion – I knew that surely I couldn’t be the only one. That led to me forming the ACS to rally together clinicians of similar integrity.  


There is a remarkable amount of hyperbole and marketing in the cannabis space today. The ACS provides science-driven education to clinicians so they are fully informed and operating with the best information.  We also provide similar education to lawmakers so that they can provide clinicians with the tools needed to properly care for patients.  


Many states in the US have gotten pieces of the puzzle right when it comes to regulating medical cannabis, but no state has gotten it entirely right. We’re working hard to show the states and federal government how to approach this, so it serves patients’ needs.

CLR: Tell me about your year to date, expanding on Association of Cannabis Specialists, 2020, and your place in the national cannabis landscape?  

We’re not the only cannabis clinician group out there, but we’re the one providing science-driven support for our members.  This year, we’ve launched several online CME offerings in various formats, and continue to provide new and exciting programs to educate and support our members. We’ve formed several international alliances and contributed to numerous consensus statements on medical policy for the US Federal government.  We are, ourselves, an international group with members from multiple countries around the world. 

CLR: How do your past professional experiences and successes help you today in the modern cannabis space? 

I am trained and boarded in Internal Medicine and spent 20 years practicing Emergency Medicine, before getting into cannabis medicine.  Having a strong background in conventional medicine forms the basis of my knowledge about human illness and care.  Cannabis medicine is about providing medical care, it just happens that the medication is cannabis, and the body system is the Endocannabinoid System. It also forms the basis of the ethical framework for providing such care. Cannabis medicine should be held to the same standard of ethics as any other field of Medicine. I view cannabinoid medicine just as I do endocrinology. 

Unfortunately, this view of the importance and ethics of cannabis care is not widely understood and will need to change so that we can truly care for our sickest people.

CLR: How do you plan to fully leverage the connections and relationships that you’ve built through the ‘Association of Cannabis Specialists’ to add value to the medical cannabis sphere? 

Helping the world understand that cannabis medicine is real medicine, and needs to be practiced as such, is the key. The ACS is the vehicle for that message. We continue to recruit members worldwide who understand patients’ needs and want to be fully educated so they can be a part of the solution. 

Further, we’re working actively with, and welcome support from, the industry including forward-thinking companies that see beyond the immediate sale. As cannabis medicine becomes more mainstream, the trust that good companies can generate by supporting the ACS and implementing patient-centered best practices will drive long-term visibility and profit. Need I point out that the pharmaceutical industry adheres to similar best practices and is earning all the better for it?

CLR: Briefly tell me about your goals in the cannabis industry. 

  • What is your foremost goal for the Association of Cannabis Specialists and how do you plan to accomplish this goal?

    Education is the foremost goal. This includes educating cannabis specialists as well as those who are not going to be specialists in cannabis, but who do need to know that this is legitimate, science-backed, and how to refer. Educating lawmakers is a huge part of this because they provide (or don’t as the case is at present) the tools by which we, physicians, are able to then translate into addressing patients’ needs.  A national prescribing system is absolutely necessary to standardize how patients get their medicine and to ensure that they can get it anywhere in the country. 
  • The goal or goals with the new website?

    The new website provides a wealth of services to members and to non-members as well. There are many educational resources in various formats, from long-form courses, to quick videos. There are also a number of advocacy documents that spell out what needs to happen in the industry and with regard to regulation.  

 

CLR: What is the mission statement of the ACS, so to speak, if one exists?  


It does!  From our website (front and center): The Association of Cannabis Specialists ensures the highest standards in the practice of cannabis medicine, safeguards patient care with clinical best practices, and interfaces with other stakeholders in the cannabis community. We believe that patients are uniquely vulnerable and have very different needs than recreational users.

We provide evidence and experience-based education for patients, cannabis clinicians, referring clinicians, and lawmakers to help them understand cannabis medicine and make informed decisions. We are an advocacy organization striving to provide guidance on best practices in the laws and regulations at the federal, state, and international levels.

CLR: How does Association of Cannabis Specialists align with your own personal values and life mission? 

Of course! That’s how it all got started, but I think I addressed that above. 

CLR: How do authenticity and trust factor into your mission with this association? 


Credibility is key. This is why scientific data informs all that we do.  Trust is mission critical, not just to the ACS but to the entire industry.  This is where we see a major problem.  Right now, there is too much emphasis on sales, and not enough on patient care. Trust in the industry will only come about through companies treating patients as patients, not consumers. Patients, by the very nature of being sick, are not simply consumers and not usually subject to the same caveat emptor view of consumers. Building trust among patients and their treating physicians will require understanding this and changing behavior accordingly.  In the end, that trust will pay off in sales. 

CLR: Generally speaking, what are/ have been the biggest challenges to launching the website and “meeting” with fellow Association members, especially in the middle of a pandemic? 

Interestingly, since we’re international in scope, we’ve always had to be decentralized. We’ve been meeting online since the beginning. The pandemic just reinforced that. We conduct committee meetings online, we hold our mentoring sessions online, it all just works.

We do look forward to a large, in-person convention in the next year or two, but we’ll have to see how things go with COVID first. 

CLR: Tell me about your personal vision for the U.S. Cannabis program in the year to come? —in 3 years?


The following whitepaper on the ACS website outlines in detail the ACS’s “Recommended Approach to Federal Cannabis Legalization for Medical Use”: https://secureservercdn.net/192.169.221.188/p1v.521.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Association-of-Cannabis-Specialists-Recommended-Approach-to-Federal-Cannabis-Legalization-for-Medical-Use.pdf 

CLR: How do we get from here to there?  

Building the relationships we’ve discussed here is the start. Getting cannabis physicians and other clinicians a seat at the table in Washington to discuss how current bills impact patients is the next major step. 

CLR: What advice can you offer to others in the cannabis space?

Join the fight for patients! Join the ACS. In the end, it’s all about patient care. 

There are many in the industry who want to view patients as consumers with the goal of selling them whatever products they have. I think this is wrong, and wrong thinking. Leaving aside the ethical and trust issues that I’ve discussed above, here’s the simple math:  estimates in the US for the recreational user pool are about 20-30 million people. This seems like a good pie from which to get a slice until you consider that there are 180 million Americans over age 55, ALL of whom WILL develop medical problems (whether pain, anxiety, insomnia, cancer, etc.) that require actual cannabis treatment. Developing medically useful, trustworthy and reliable products and services will be the only way to address that pool.  Which pie would you rather have a slice of?

CLR: What keeps you awake at night?

The degree to which the current industry does not understand patients and is resisting learning how to serve their needs. (See above.) 

CLR: If you could plan your dream dinner party and invite five guests, who would they be and why these five guests?

First, just to get it said, it would not be a cannabis-infused party. Second, I’m going to assume that it will be to discuss cannabis, and therefore I shouldn’t invite Albert Einstein (since he’s dead).

I’d invite Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Earl Blumenauer, Cory Booker or AOC, and Nancy Pelosi.  I’d invite this group because each, in their own way, is standing in the way of patient care. 

Each is too focused on either SJ or industry profits. 

None are focused enough on the ways in which patient care is an issue of SJ, and that industry building will do better with regulation that supports trust and reliability. 

Who knows if I’d convince them, but I’m spending much of my life trying!

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