According to researchers at the University of Vermont, the majority of medical cannabis patients in the state do not believe their primary care doctor is a “good source of information regarding cannabis.”
In a study published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health surveying 1,009 Vermont primary care patients, the researchers found 45 percent of respondents used cannabinoids over the past year but just 18 percent of those patients said their primary care physician was a good resource for information on cannabis.
The median age of the respondents was 51-years-old.
The majority of patients surveyed who used cannabis said it was helpful for conditions such as anxiety, depression, arthritis, pain, sleep, and nausea. Medical cannabis has been legal in Vermont since 2004.
“Primary care providers need to be knowledgeable about cannabinoids to best support patient care. In addition, with a significant number of patients reporting cannabinoids helpful for medical conditions common in primary care, it is important that research continue to identify the potential benefits and harms of cannabis.” – “Use and Reported Helpfulness of Cannabinoids Among Primary Care Patients in Vermont,” Jan-Dec 2020, Journal of Primary Care & Community Health
The researchers said the knowledge gap among primary care physicians results in “providers having difficulty navigating conversations surrounding cannabinoid use.”
A 2017 survey of medical school curriculum deans conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri found that 66.7 percent of respondents indicated their graduates were not prepared to recommend medical cannabis and another 25 percent said their graduates were not even prepared to answer medical cannabis questions.
Other surveys have consistently purported that medical professionals do not believe they know enough about the health and safety effects of cannabis.