A new study from Canada has revealed that the majority of patients do not believe their GP’s are a good source for information on cannabinoids.
Published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health last week, the study interviewed over 1,000 patients in the Vermont area. Of these patients, 45% had used cannabinoids in the past year, with the average participant aged 51. In the last month, 19% of patients used THC (psychoactive), and 21% of patients has used CBD (non-psychoactive).
Despite this, only 18% of patients believed their GP’s were a good source of information about cannabinoids.
Although researchers were shocked, the results of this study are consistent with research in the US. A 2020 study revealed that only 40% of medical school students received any education on medical cannabis, while another study into medical schools revealed that only 25% of their graduates can actually answer questions about medical cannabis.
Here in Australia, we aren’t immune to this problem either. Dispute medical cannabis being legal since 2016, stigma and misinformation regularly prevent Aussie patients from discussing medical cannabis as a treatment option.
As medical cannabis is a developing field, it’s understandable that formal training on cannabis was historically lacking. However, more than 50,000 Australians now have medical cannabis prescriptions, meaning it’s time for doctors to catch up.
In the conclusion of the Vermont study, researchers wrote:
Given the large proportion of patients using cannabinoids, primary care providers likely need more education about the potential risks and benefits.
Researchers also recommended more research into cannabinoids and their medical applications, to give doctors a better understanding treatment options and outcomes.
Luckily for them, an international study into medical cannabis was launched last week. You can read all about Project Twenty21 here.