Today marijuana is legal—at least for medical purposes—in more than half the states in the country. Most of the general public believes marijuana has medicinal value and shouldn’t be criminalized. Many of the people currently self medicating with marijuana are starting to look to their general practitioners for guidance and advice. The medical field, ironically enough, is in no way prepared to address the needs of their medicinal marijuana patients. That’s because nearly all of today’s physicians don’t know shit about the medical benefits of marijuana. No wonder Dr Oz recently called out the medical establishment and their ridiculous hypocrisy surrounding medical pot.
Curriculum deans at 101 medical schools completed surveys about marijuana education. Just over two-thirds said their graduates weren’t prepared to prescribe medical marijuana. One-quarter said their graduates weren’t even able to answer questions about medical marijuana.
The researchers also surveyed 258 medical residents and fellows from across the country. Nine out of 10 said they were unprepared to prescribe medical marijuana. Eighty-five percent said they hadn’t received any education about medical marijuana.
Dr. Laura Jean Bierut, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently stated, “Medical education needs to catch up to marijuana legislation. Physicians in training need to know the benefits and drawbacks associated with medical marijuana so they know when or if, and to whom, to prescribe the drug,” she explained in a school news release.
Future physicians are currently learning about opioids and pain reduction, but are not being schooled on the medicinal value of marijuana. “As a future physician, it worries me,” said study first author Anastasia Evanoff, a third-year medical student. “We talk about how those drugs can affect every organ system in the body, and we learn how to discuss the risks and benefits with patients,” Evanoff said of opioids. “But if a patient were to ask about medical marijuana, most medical students wouldn’t know what to say,” she said.
How are we going to solve the opioid crisis if marijuana is not being discussed as a tool for pain management? Anastasia nailed it when she said, “it worries me”, we all should be worried. We all need to become more proactive and demand our doctors know how to treat their patients with marijuana.