Cannabis products are becoming more and more mainstream. Despite this, researchers from the University of Alabama have found that most healthcare professionals in the US are still ill-prepared to answer questions their patients may ask about its usage.
For the study, the researchers surveyed 451 US-based neurologists, nurses, and pharmacists. The survey included 29 questions that examined the attitudes of each clinician and their knowledge of cannabidiol (CBD) therapies, focusing on epilepsy in particular. They also assessed each participant's understanding of medical marijuana and recreational cannabis.
In particular, they asked questions examining the perceived effectiveness of CBD and medical cannabis, as well as its regulation, availability, and any stigma associated with its usage. An understanding of how the endocannabinoid system works, as well as its pharmacology, effects, and general clinical applications, were also tested.
"Our findings showed that the majority of providers, over 80 percent, favored the use of medical cannabis when prescribed by a medical provider," says Magdalena Szaflarski, lead author of the study.
"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 study also suggests that healthcare workers tend to support CBD and medical marijuana products less than the American public. That means that while more patients are looking for treatment with cannabis-based products, many healthcare professionals may be unable to properly recommend solutions as they are not sufficiently educated on the products and regulations. The researchers say that this leaves many patients to their own devices to figure out dosing and obtain cannabis.