New research suggests that medical students aren’t learning enough about the risks and benefits of medical marijuana, despite 29 states and the District of Columbia allowing marijuana use for medical purposes.
Researchers surveyed medical school deans, residents, and fellows, and examined a curriculum database maintained by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), learning that medical education is not addressing medical marijuana.
Hear researcher Anastasia B. Evanoff discuss the research:
“Medical education needs to catch up to marijuana legislation,” says senior author Laura Jean Bierut, the professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse. “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.”
Doctors are being asked to guide patients through areas in which most have no training, she explains.
The research team, led by first author Anastasia B. Evanoff, sent surveys to medical school curriculum deans at 172 medical schools in North America, including 31 that specialize in osteopathic medicine, and received 101 replies. Two-thirds (66.7 percent) reported that their graduates were not prepared to prescribe medical marijuana. A quarter of deans said their trainees weren’t even equipped to answer questions about medical marijuana.
“Medical education needs to catch up to marijuana legislation…”
The researchers also surveyed 258 residents and fellows who earned their medical degrees from schools around the country before coming to Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis to complete their training.
Nearly 90 percent felt they weren’t prepared to prescribe medical marijuana, and 85 percent said they had not received any education about medical marijuana during