USA: Study Shows Most Physicians Lack Knowledge Of Medical Cannabis

Forbes writes…

A study of more than 400 health care professionals has revealed that most physicians lack knowledge of medicinal cannabis, with 65% saying that they have been asked about medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic pain but were unable to answer their patients’ questions.

The quantitative research study, which was commissioned by cannabis healthcare brand Cannaceutica, surveyed 445 physicians who treat chronic pain, including general practitioners and specialists in fields such as orthopedics, rheumatology, and sports medicine, about their knowledge of medical cannabis. Physicians who participated in the study had from two to 35 years of practice and were at least somewhat knowledgeable about medical cannabis and at least somewhat likely to recommend it to their patients with chronic pain, assuming medical marijuana was legally available.

Vast Majority Of Doctors Asked About Medical Cannabis

An overwhelming majority (84%) of the health care providers surveyed said that their patients had requested or asked about cannabis for chronic pain, with 72% reporting that they had been asked in the previous 30 days. Dr. Daniele Piomelli, the director of the Institute for the Study of Cannabis at the University of California, Irvine and a member of the UCI Institutional Review Board that approved the research, said in a press release that the study “emphasizes both the public interest around cannabis as an analgesic and the lack of reliable data and/or medical education about its correct use.”

“In 2017, a National Academy of Science expert panel concluded that there was ‘substantial’ but not ‘conclusive’ evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective in treating chronic pain in adults,” Piomelli continued. “Five years later, we are still lacking the data needed to put this issue to rest, one way or another. It’s time we fill this gap.”

The study, which has not yet been published or peer reviewed, also found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of physicians said that patients themselves were their dominant source of information about cannabis, followed by the internet (44%) and medical journals (40%). The survey reveals a glaring lack of knowledge about the therapeutic uses of cannabis among health care professionals, most of whom receive little to no education on medical marijuana or the endocannabinoid system in medical school.