Nurse and Pharmacist Join Dispensary Staff and Why That Matters

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Despite legalized medical cannabis programs in 33 states, cannabis has yet to be fully accepted by mainstream medicine and the healthcare industry as a whole. Sadly, topics such as the endocannabinoid system, CB1/CB2 receptors, terpenes, and more rarely garner the necessary attention in the academic curriculum of our future healthcare professionals. Many factors could be to blame. Could the reason be the endocannabinoid system was only just discovered in 1992? Is it because of the lack of federally sanctioned research and clinical trials? Does the labeling of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance deemed to have “no medical use” play a role? Fingers could be pointed in any direction but progress, albeit slowly, is taking place.

To help bridge the gap between medical cannabis and the healthcare industry locally, Herbal Remedies Dispensary is proud to introduce two in-house healthcare professionals:

nichole wildrick registered nurse

Nichole Wildrick, Registered Nurse

With a combined experience of 15 years in the healthcare industry, Nichole is well equipped to offer her expertise. She received her associate degree in nursing from Southeastern Community College and has received other subsequent certifications. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and Registered Nurse (RN) with Keokuk Area Hospital. Since 2012, she has been an oncology certified RN with Quincy Medical Group focusing predominantly on the care of individuals diagnosed and treated for cancer. For the past five years, Nichole has simultaneously worked in a dispensary setting part-time as well. At Herbal Remedies, she has forged internal patient care policies and procedures, guided patients through their medical cannabis treatment, produced educational materials for staff and community member use, and much more.

aj smith pharmacist

AJ Smith, Pharmacist

While working as an Assistant Manager at Walgreens in the past, AJ was urged by his then supervisor to consider an alternative career path. Heeding that advice, he would go on to receive his doctorate from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) School of Pharmacy in 2011. AJ completed his student apprenticeship at Walgreens and would continue to be employed by them as a pharmacist for 8 years. AJ would be employed by HyVee Pharmacy for a brief duration as well. Inspired by a loved one's use of cannabis to treat PTSD, AJ stepped away from the pharmacy setting to grasp a better understanding of the often misunderstood medicine. In May 2020, he joined Herbal Remedies for an educational exchange of sorts. He teaches our staff the complexities of pharmaceuticals and gains further knowledge about cannabis science himself. AJ hopes to apply what he has learned about the medical application of cannabis towards future endeavors.

Having these two healthcare professionals on staff is a tremendous asset to the Herbal Remedies staff, our medical patients, and even our adult-use consumers. They serve as advocates and trailblazers for the acceptance of medical cannabis among healthcare professionals.

Why healthcare professionals in a dispensary are good

Dispensary technicians, alternatively called budtenders, are knowledgeable about cannabis but rarely possess experience when it’s taken in conjunction with prescription drugs. The mixing of cannabis and some pharmaceuticals may produce potentially adverse side effects. A registered nurse or pharmacist can consult with the dispensary tech and/or the consumer about any known contraindications between cannabis and their pharmaceuticals.

Ultimately, there is an exchange of knowledge between dispensary techs and healthcare professionals when they’re working collaboratively in a dispensary setting. The dispensary tech gains insight that can be applied towards future consultations and healthcare professionals learn how cannabis can be used to successfully treat a multitude of ailments.

Schedule a healthcare professional consultation

Whether you’re a medical patient or adult-use patron, complimentary consultations with our cannabis nurse and pharmacist are available by appointment. Please call 217-214-6337 or stop by the dispensary to schedule a consultation with Nichole or AJ today. Walk-in consultations are only accepted when they have the availability to do so.

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