Survey: Medical Students Seldom Receive Training About Cannabis

Washington, DC: Most medical students report receiving no formal education about the therapeutic use of cannabis during their time as undergraduates, according to survey data published in the journal Complimentary Therapies in Medicine.

Investigators surveyed medical students attending George Washington University in Washington, DC. Sixty percent of respondents reported having received "no formal education on medical cannabis" while attending medical school, while 38 percent said they received only "a little bit." Fewer than two percent of those surveyed said that they received "a sufficient amount" of education on medical cannabis-specific issues while in school.

A majority of respondents acknowledged being "not at all prepared" to discuss issues regarding the potential benefits and risks of marijuana with their patients. Seventy-seven percent of respondents agreed that "there should be more formal education on medical cannabis in medical school."

Authors concluded: "Altogether, deficits in cannabis knowledge will need to be addressed as medical and recreational legalization continues to expand throughout the US. … We urge medical schools and medical education regulatory bodies to strongly consider adopting standards for cannabis education to ensure that future physicians can provide the best possible care to their patients."

Their findings are similar to those of other studies, such as those here, here, here, and here, concluding that health professionals receive insufficient training about medical cannabis.

Full text of the study, "Medical students are unprepared to counsel patients about medical cannabis and want to learn more," appears in Complimentary Therapies in Medicine.