A recent survey amongst doctors, pharmacists and various health care providers in Washington State discovered that three-fourths are in favor of rescheduling marijuana and say that educational institutions need to start educating students more about medical marijuana. While most people are in support of medical marijuana a major limitation they recognize is “limited clinician knowledge of available products and where to get them.”
The survey assessed almost 500 health care providers on their knowledge of the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid-based treatments and their behavior in reference to medical marijuana. 66% of clinicians who had written recommendations for medical marijuana say they felt comfortable doing so, while only 6.5% of those who had never written one expressed the same feelings, unsurprisingly.
When asked what would make them more content prescribing medical marijuana, the most frequent responses were “education programs for health care providers,” “more clinical data,” more investigative studies proving effectiveness,” “algorithms for recommending medical cannabis,” “endorsed clinical guidelines,” and “change in cannabis federal legal status.”
In general, knowledge on the endocannabinoid system and existing FDA-approved cannabinoid treatments was low. Health care providers that had ever issued a recommendation had a clearer understanding of the endocannabinoid system, and pharmacists (not eligible to prescribe cannabis) had a higher knowledge of FDA-approved cannabinoid medicines (such as Marinol).
Exactly 73.7% of respondents agreed that “medical cannabis can help people who have chronic debilitating conditions” and 59.3% also agreed that “there are significant physical health benefits of using medical cannabis as recommended by a healthcare provider.” Highlighting their generalized lack of knowledge regarding cannabis, 61.6% believed “cannabis can be addictive” and 45.2% said, “using medical cannabis can result in serious mental health risks, even when used as recommended by a healthcare professional.”
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