New York Cannabis – A Pharmacist’s Perspective with Frank Falvo
In this episode of The Cannabis Community Insider, hosts Abraham Villegas and Penelope Hamilton sit down with Frank Falvo, a registered pharmacist at Vireo Health in Albany, New York where we talk about: – Frank’s experience as a cannabis pharmacist – Drug interactions with cannabis – New York Cannabis legalization – How Frank once operated a pharmacy where “Beyond the Pines” was filmed, which featured Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and other A-List celebrities.
Table of Contents
Frank Falvo’s Background 00:14
- Frank Falvo is a registered pharmacist out of New York.
- He currently works at Vireo Health.
- We’re bringing Frank on today to give us his overall perspective of what it’s like to be a cannabis pharmacist and in 2021 get his understanding of what’s happening currently in New York.
Future of Cannabis 00:28
- Frank Falvo will give his insights into what the future of cannabis should look like given where the landscape is going.
- The conversation will be exciting.
Frank Falvo’s perspective on the Cannabis MRTA Bill 01:06
- Frank Falvo supported the MRTA bill.
- It was the most fair bill and addressed a lot of issues that needed to be addressed that weren’t in the other bill.
- There are a lot of amazing questions right now going on with New York and the state of future cannabis.
Role of Pharmacists in Dispensaries 01:32
- Some people have asked about the role of pharmacists currently in dispensaries.
- Frank Falvo is unsure of the future of pharmacists in dispensaries, but he imagines that it might be on its way out once it goes to adult use.
- However, education is still necessary, and it is still needed.
Frank Falvo’s Background in Pharmacy and Cannabis 02:45
- Frank Falvo has been a pharmacist for almost 30 years.
- He has also been a cannabis medical patient for over 40 years.
- Frank Falvo has an insight into cannabis probably like no other from all angles.
- He has experience with how the industry has kept going for 40 years and the sacrifices that they had to make.
- Being on the patient side has opened up new avenues of treatment for him.
Cannabis and Fitness 03:27
- Frank Falvo still runs after 40 years of cannabis use.
- Cannabis is part of the reason why he can still run.
- It works great for him as a pre-workout and after workout supplement.
- Cannabis not only takes away the inflammation but also gives him more stamina.
Medical Benefits of Cannabis 05:40
- The medical benefits of cannabis are incredible.
- The endocannabinoid system changes the way we look at everything.
- It’s involved in almost every disease known to mankind.
- THC isn’t for everyone, but the medical benefits of cannabis are incredible.
- The endocannabinoid system is the biggest thing to happen in medicine in a hundred years.
Cannabis as an Exit Drug 06:15
- Cannabis has been able to serve as an exit drug for many people to reduce or eliminate their intake of prescription medications.
- There are many patient success stories.
- Cannabis has been particularly helpful to reduce or eliminate prescription medication for health issues like Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Cannabis Legalization and Medical Benefits 07:26
- Cannabis legalization is taking place across the nation.
- Companies in the industry tend to lose sight of the medical aspect, which becomes a second afterthought.
- Patients, pharmacists, and doctors feel the consequences of this loss of focus on the medical aspect.
- Cannabis carries many medical benefits, and the economics are in adult use.
- As we have learned, it doesn’t matter how you use cannabis; it doesn’t take away the medicinal benefits.
- Cannabis provides pain relief and relief from anxiety, among other benefits.
- This raises the question of how pharmacists can educate people that there is no difference between medical and recreational cannabis use.
Lack of Education on Cannabis in Medical Schools 07:03
- There is a shift towards cannabis legalization taking place.
- Pharmacy students are coming through and doing great presentations and projects.
- Medical schools may not be presenting cannabis in the right way.
- The lack of education on cannabis in medical schools is a significant issue.
Drug Interactions with Cannabis 08:49
- There are medications that people should not take with cannabis, although they are not many.
- Warfarin is the only known medication that has a possible interaction with cannabis.
- Additional drowsiness may occur with other medicines.
- However, the endocannabinoid system receptors are everywhere, but where they are dangerous, that’s where it’s a sign too.
- There are no fatal doses, and there are no drug interactions besides warfarin.
- Most of these medications work in the same areas as the endocannabinoid system.
Understanding Cannabis Benefits 09:02
- People need to understand that if you’re using cannabis, even if you’re using it recreationally, you’re getting medical benefits from it.
- The endocannabinoid system is everywhere, but where they’re dangerous, that’s where it’s a sign too.
- The endogenous cannabinoids work in your body, whether you touch cannabis or not.
- Many things, like vitamin E, help the endocannabinoid system, and you may not realize it.
Personal Experiences with Cannabis 12:27
- Personal experience is essential when it comes to cannabis, and all this has to do with how you get it.
- The endocannabinoid system is almost scientific proof of a spiritual connection.
- The way it behaves in synapses and the way we process music while we’re or relate to other people is a big thing too.
Background information on Frank Falvo 13:21
- Frank Falvo had no prior experience with cannabis before diving into it.
- He approached cannabis from a scientific perspective due to his background as a pharmacist.
- He did extensive research on cannabis on his own before trying it.
Importance of Terpenes 13:42
- Terpenes are an important part of the cannabis plant.
- Frank Falvo considers terpenes one of the plant’s most exciting parts.
- He would love to buy cannabis based on the terpene profile.
- The terpene profile provides information on everything from flavor to different effects.
Frustration with New York State’s Program 13:52
- Frank Falvo expresses frustration with the New York State program’s lack of information on terpene profiles.
- He asks for the interviewer’s thoughts on the matter and where the state should go with the program.
Purchasing Cannabis as a Pharmacist 15:03
- Frank Falvo discusses how he purchases cannabis as a pharmacist.
- He looks for strains with specific terpene profiles and cannabinoids.
- He also considers the patient’s needs and what they try to treat with cannabis.
Advising Patients on Purchasing Cannabis 15:19
- Frank Falvo advises patients to consider what they are trying to treat with cannabis, such as anxiety or pain.
- He recommends researching strains and using resources such as Leafly.
- He also notes other forms of cannabis besides smoking, such as oral sprays, capsules, and topicals.
Side Effects and Overconsumption 17:26
- Frank Falvo discusses the side effects of cannabis, such as dry mouth and headaches.
- He notes that THC can sometimes make people feel paranoid.
- He emphasizes that there are no deadly side effects or lethal dose of cannabis.
- Overconsumption of cannabis can lead to fatigue and hunger.
Starting out in the cannabis community 19:21
- For those who are just getting into the cannabis community or those who are starting to many are trying to go from pharmaceuticals to cannabis.
- Many of them try and do it at such a fast pace that oftentimes isn’t necessarily the best strategy.
Titration and pharmaceuticals 19:40
- Very slow titration is advised because many of these medicines cause horrible side effects if you stop them immediately.
- Gabapentin is one of them; patients come in that don’t want to be on gabapentin but you can’t just stop these things.
- For example, antidepressants should never be stopped cold turkey.
Cannabis and certain conditions or symptoms 20:50
- There are certain types of people or conditions symptoms where it might not be a good idea to consume cannabis.
- People with bipolar or schizophrenia disorder should not be on cannabis; even if you have a close relative use something you want to monitor closely.
- Paranoia anxiety for those people it could increase the severity of schizophrenia also, or in some cases bring it on.
- THC can worsen anxiety for some people.
Red flags in the pharmaceutical industry 22:27
- Consistency of dosing in the world medicine is the one thing that pharmaceutical industry has all day against cannabis is that there are specific formulations.
Patient-pharmacist conversation 24:22
- At the dispensaries, when patients are coming in to speak with pharmacists, the conversation typically looks like they asking for flour.
- There’s a stigma still, and they don’t know what to say, but with experience and openness, the conversation can be about what they’re trying to do with cannabis.
New York State’s new cannabis laws 25:21
- New York State has recently passed laws that allow people to consume cannabis without the need for a certain disease state.
- This is one of the big victories for New York State, and it’s going to open up medical cannabis for the next 18 months or so.
Future of medical cannabis in New York 25:37
- It is uncertain what will happen to medical cannabis after the 18-month period when recreational stores open.
- There is hope that medical cannabis can still be available for patients, perhaps at a lower cost than recreational cannabis.
- There are efforts to keep medical cannabis accessible for patients.
Frank Falvo’s plans to educate people about cannabis 26:13
- Frank Falvo plans to be a local resource for cannabis information to healthcare professionals.
- He is thinking of starting local and going on public access or something similar.
- There is a need for a pharmacist-type approach to answering cannabis-related questions.
- Frank Falvo is willing to help and learn something new every day.
Frank Falvo’s experience in the pharmacy business and in the movie industry 27:20
- Frank Falvo had a pharmacy business before entering the cannabis space.
- He was once featured in a movie called “Beyond the Pines” starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes.
- Frank Falvo was asked to stand in the background of the scene in the movie to make it look real with his pharmacy coat on.
- He had a unique experience working with a stunt coordinator and chasing somebody through his pharmacy.