Qualitative Study Reveals Medical Students’ Attitudes Toward Medical Pot

With a large decades-long industry in the United States and increasing use for a variety of medical conditions, medical cannabis is commonly used for symptom management in the United States and countries around the world. Like it or not, medical cannabis is now part of the modern medical world.

Despite this, doctors still receive little training on cannabis in medical school and often rely on anecdotal evidence. As a substitute, medical students typically do not receive formal education in recommending medical cannabis or controlling its use.

Now, a new qualitative study by the Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine “Medical student attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs about medical cannabis: a qualitative descriptive study” aims to examine medical students’ perceptions of medical cannabis, including its effectiveness, medical relevance, potential side effects, and patient value.

This qualitative study sought to answer the question, “What do medical students know and think about medical cannabis?” Specifically, researchers will conduct in-depth focus group discussions with osteopathic medical students to identify attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs about medical cannabis, and analyze data from these conversations to guide new medical education curriculum strategies. The aim was to identify new themes.

Regardless of the prevalence of medical cannabis in medicine today, the study’s introduction suggests that physicians are “mostly ” and points out that I don’t know much about recommending it. effect and dosage. Researchers say this may be due to the lack of formal education doctors receive in medical school.

“What we do know, however, is that physicians tend to rely on a combination of unreliable sources to obtain information, most of which are anecdotal reports,” the researchers wrote.

Because of the persistent stigma, researchers say medical cannabis is commonly discussed in schools during lectures on other Schedule 1 drugs, possibly only addressing its harmful effects as a “street drug.” , administrators are uncomfortable with integrating the therapeutic use of cannabis into school curricula.

All study sessions will be held in June 2022 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year graduates. In this study, we utilized a semi-structured interview guide created by the researcher and conducted his Zoom interviews with eight focus groups and a total of 83 medical students.

Each group lasted 60-75 minutes and was guided through the following content areas: beliefs about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, perceived knowledge of medical cannabis, the role of physicians regarding medical cannabis, and concerns about adverse effects. , desire for education on medical cannabis in schools.

Four themes that emerged from the interviews included false beliefs about medical cannabis, unreliable sources of information, mixed attitudes toward legalization, and a desire for medical cannabis education in schools.

Overall, participants were able to: cancer treatment, AIDS treatment, chronic disease management, pain management, gastrointestinal problems, increased appetite, nausea, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and depression, glaucoma, PTSD, sleep disorders and multiple sclerosis. disease.

There were also concerns about potential harmful effects, but some agreed that medical cannabis may have a viable role in medicine. Some participants also reported that patients were unable to control their medical cannabis use on their own, or that patients were unable to transfer medical cannabis to others. He said it could be sold or misused.

Some participants said they were happy with doctors recommending medical cannabis through telemedicine conferences, while others said it should be done in person, with one participant , said it “opens up opportunities for people to beat the system.” The researchers also found that participants often talked about recreational cannabis indiscriminately from medically prescribed cannabis, and facilitators noted the distinction “at least twice” for participants in each of the eight focus groups. I urged you to

Citing reports of medical students’ concerns about medical cannabis, the researchers said it was “disturbing” that participants spoke about the dangers of medical cannabis use with unsubstantiated authority. rice field. previous research.

“According to participants, the idea that patients are unable to recognize the signs of their illness and know their bodies is equally unnerving. It can be dangerous for patients because they don’t know what their condition requires.I don’t know what they are feeling.”

In terms of sources, participants reported obtaining information about medical cannabis only anecdotally from social media and news clips. He was the only two of the 83 participants who reported searching library databases or reading articles in scientific journals for information about medical cannabis.

Participants also reported that while they provided information about the harmful effects of recreational cannabis, their schools did not provide curriculum-based education on medical cannabis. Many participants also commented that they believed there was “little or no scientific research available” on medical cannabis.

Most of the participants agreed that medical cannabis should be legalized by the federal government and reclassified as a Schedule 1 drug. Many also hold the opinion that medical cannabis “should be strictly controlled by physicians” and that other health care providers (such as pharmacists and nurses) should not be able to recommend or prescribe medical cannabis. shared.

Finally, participants discussed their exposure to medical cannabis in school, commenting that they had a “lack” of knowledge about medical cannabis and would benefit from increased medical cannabis education while in school. The majority of participants will receive medical training through four years of undergraduate training, including medical cannabis information (therapeutic benefits, potential risks, side effects, medical contraindications, legality, recommended dosages, etc.) incorporated into the curriculum. I felt the need to consolidate cannabis education. in pharmacology and/or systems courses.

“I think there are many opportunities where we can find ways to integrate MC in many lectures…” said one participant. “Professors can provide links to the citations used…we are not trained to be MC experts, but should be familiar with the literature currently available. to be able to bring it into a lecture on the gastrointestinal system and find ways to incorporate some of it and neurology into biochemistry … I think that is perfectly feasible in a pharmacology course.”

Ultimately, researchers concluded that medical cannabis appears to be a significant problem for medical trainees. Especially given that medical cannabis may need to be recommended to patients or managed coexisting therapies with patients in their careers. Despite the fact that the presented an opinion.

“Research studies continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of pharmaceutical use and appropriate medications, as well as the potential adverse effects of MC use, and provide critical and accurate health care programs for future physicians to ensure MC readiness. education,” concludes the study.

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