Bringing the Medical Cannabis Business to Pharmacy

On July 18th, S2BN Waterloo welcomed Dr. Rahim Dhalla to the School of Pharmacy - where he discussed the dynamic intersection of medical marijuana, retail pharmacy, and customized cannabis compounding. Dr. Dhalla is the owner of HybridPharm – Ottawa’s first specialty cannabinoid compounding pharmacy.

Dr. Dhalla graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with a Doctorate of Pharmacy in 2009. Following a three-year stint in retail pharmacy with American big-wigs such as Walmart, Target and CVS, Rahim quickly realized that he gravitated towards the entrepreneurial aspects of the medication management system - which led him to subsequently pursue an MBA at Bryant University.

In 2016 Dr. Dhalla’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Rahim was faced with the jarring reality that although the destigmatisation of medical cannabis had been catalyzed years prior, support for patients who require cannabis in the treatment of indicated medical conditions such cancer pain and chemo-induced nausea remained unfounded. As a pharmacist, Rahim used his clinical knowledge to take it upon himself to initiate his father on cannabis. Through this personal experience, Rahim saw first-hand the benefits of medical marijuana - and he found his new niche in the interplay of cannabis and pharmacy.

With HybridPharm’s speciality pharmacy clinical services (e.g. one-on-one educational consults) and custom compounded products (e.g. cannabinoid-infused suppositories), the pharmacy has developed it’s own infrastructure to guide patients on how to choose different treatment modalities with medical marijuana. During his presentation, Rahim gave the pharmacy students case-based examples of his patients who see benefits from different cannabinoid dosage forms, doses, and strains, in the treatment of conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Dhalla also spoke to first- and second-year UW students about the necessity of having pharmacy professionals integrated into the regulations that mandate the provision and management of medical marijuana. Both pharmacists and pharmacy students must advocate for the rights to dispense medical cannabis to provincial and federal bodies. Pharmacists are both the most accessed health care professional, and the medication expert – making them uniquely positioned to best serve the needs of patients seeking counsel on this drug.

The University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy wants to give a big thank you to Dr. Dhalla for visiting us all the way from Ottawa, and providing budding new pharmacists new insights into the trajectory of medical marijuana in the field of pharmacy. Pun intended. For more information on HybridPharm and Dr. Dhalla, please visit

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