About ACS

OUR MISSION

The Association of Cannabinoid 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.

OUR CORE VALUES

  • Patients are a vulnerable group who deserve the highest standard of medical care and products.
  • Recreational use is not the same as medical use.  These groups have different goals and needs and must be addressed separately.
  • Prohibition of cannabis is a major public health hazard that has failed to decrease drug use and has led to unsupportable consequences.
  • Cannabis is medicine. It should be regulated like other medications and be available by prescription including in botanical form.
  • Cannabis products should not make unsubstantiated medical claims.  Products should be required to meet strict standards of safety, bioavailability, and efficacy.
  • Dispensaries should operate like pharmacies.  They should provide products that are safe and effective.  They should not provide medical advice to patients.  They should not contradict patients’ clinicians’ orders.

MEMBER PLEDGE

 
Our members provide the utmost in care for their patients. All members and their practices agree to abide by the following pledge:
  • All patients will be treated with a level of care consistent with highest medical ethics and standard of care equal to, or exceeding, any other medical specialty.
  • The purpose of a medical cannabis practice is to provide care for patients. Certification is only a tool to be used in that pursuit, and should be de-emphasized in favor of a holistic view of the patient and their needs.
  • Cannabis patients require guidance by knowledgeable, caring specialists. Patients may have concerns and questions that are best not left to laypeople or non-cannabis specialists to address. Patients will receive ongoing care as at least every 6 months, more often, and for a length of visit, as is medically indicated, commensurate with other specialty care for similar illnesses. We advocate for 60 minute initial consultations, and 30 minute subsequent visits.
  • Cannabis science and practice is changing rapidly. Specialists commit to keeping pace with these changes through reading of the literature or other continuing medical education of at least 20 hours per year.
  • Telemedicine visits are felt to be an inferior choice to in-person visits. They should be used only when circumstances make in-person visits impractical, perilous, or an undue hardship. Telemedicine should never be used in contravention of local law or regulation. At least annual in-person visits are strongly encouraged.
  • All encounters with patients will be properly documented in the EHR.
  • Records detailing prior and current treatment of illnesses relevant to cannabis treatment will be required of all patients, reviewed by clinicians, and properly filed in the medical record.
  • Medications and allergies will be documented and reviewed at each visit (medication reconciliation). Medication reviews will be documented as well.
  • Women of childbearing age will receive additional counseling on risks of using medical cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • All patients will be reminded of the risks associated with driving or doing other generally hazardous activities while intoxicated.
  • Records of clinical encounters will be communicated to a patient’s primary care provider or other such provider as the patient chooses, unless the patient actively chooses not to allow communication.
  • The same high level of care and ethics will be applied to all patients regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, sexual identification, or economic background.
  • Neither the practice or any practitioner shall enter into any business arrangement that might cause an ethical conflict with patients’ best interests. Conflicts of interest, or apparent conflicts of interest, will be disclosed to patients, governing bodies, and the ACS.

OUR WORK

The Association of Cannabinoid Specialists has multiple working committees that envision, plan, and implement the outreach and advocacy of the association. Below are the mission statements of each committee, and the current members.
Education

The Education Committee produces educational events and materials for both Cannabis Specialists and referring clinicians.

Membership

The Membership Committee focuses on recruiting new members, and increasing ACS visibility to the public.

Advocacy

The Advocacy Committee provides evidence, testimony, and guidance to governmental and non-governmental groups to help implement legal and regulatory systems that benefit cannabis patients and the clinicians who care for them.

Fundraising

The Fundraising Committee seeks donations from individuals and corporations to support ACS activities in a blind, non-quid-pro-quo manner.

Industry

The Industry Committee promulgates a rating system by which dispensaries can be evaluated and accredited by the ACS. Further it provides a similar system for specific products assuring that they meet ACS standards.

Institutional Caregiver

The Institutional Caregiver Committee develops and implements plans to provide care and access to cannabis medicine to patients who reside in institutions such as nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, and hospice.

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