Researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham have determined that doctors in the U.S. lack knowledge regarding medical marijuana. This lack of knowledge leaves them unprepared to answer their patients’ questions. It leaves doctors unable to understand the true potential that cannabis therapy could have for various conditions.
More than 120 phytocannabinoids have been identified as scientists continue to study marijuana, Medical Xpress reported. The study conducted by UAB shows that over 70% of the 451 respondents support the use of medical marijuana. A majority of the responding physicians admitted not knowing much about marijuana in general.
Lead study author Magdalena Szaflarski said, “There is a growing interest in cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis sativa L, also referred to as marijuana or hemp, has been used as material and medicine by humans for over 5,000 years. Our findings showed that the majority of providers, over 80 percent, favored the use of medical cannabis when prescribed by a medical provider. Fewer, only 43 percent, supported recreational cannabis. Of some concern was that a significant number considered themselves not knowledgeable at all about medical cannabis or were unfamiliar with issues related to regulation and availability of cannabis products. The test results showed gaps in knowledge: Between 26 percent and 68 percent answered a question incorrectly or didn’t know the answer to a particular question.”
The author continued by saying, “A growing number of patients nationwide are looking to health care professionals to prescribe and guide them in the use of cannabinoid-based therapies. Our study suggests that many are not educated enough on medical cannabis to counsel their patients and recommend specific products or dosing. Patients are often left on their own to seek or obtain products and figure out dosing; such self-treatment may be harmful. Properly educated health care professionals can weigh potential benefits and risks of medical cannabis for individual patients and help mitigate potentially unsafe practices. Thus, professional cannabinoid education nationwide is immensely needed.”