Nav: Home

Colorado medical students defend physicians' right to recommend marijuana

January 17, 2017

Colorado students viewed the legalization of marijuana favorably, medicinal or otherwise, and generally felt that the medical use of marijuana is acceptable in the treatment of conditions approved by the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry. Nearly half (49 percent) felt that it had significant physical health benefits and 37 percent believed it had mental health benefits. This contrasts with other studies, which found that most Colorado family physicians would only recommend marijuana for patients who suffer from pain or cancer and that only 27 percent of physicians thought it had significant physical health benefits.

The study¹, "Colorado Medical Students' Attitudes and Beliefs about Marijuana," was published today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine² by Springer. It investigated the attitudes of medical students in Colorado, a state that has long been at the forefront of marijuana legal reforms³.

"Despite strong support for marijuana legal reform, students expressed hesitancy to recommend it themselves, suggesting that medical students may not believe that there is enough data to safely recommend its use to patients and/or may not feel sufficiently trained to prescribe it," said Chan, now a resident at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

These reforms have seen the decriminalization of marijuana on many fronts in recent years. In Colorado, it is legal for adults to use it for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Previous studies have shown that opinions vary among physicians about the value of prescribing marijuana. To add further insights into the matter, Chan's team set out to find out what medical students at the CU School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus thought about the drug's use. In all, 236 of the 624 students contacted by e-mail completed the survey.

Students who grew up in Colorado were more in favor of medical marijuana than those who did not grow up there. This was also true for the 127 students who reported having used marijuana before. This finding is in line with previous studies showing that people with histories of substance use, including marijuana, believe the risk of adverse effects is relatively low.

The students were nearly unanimous (97 percent) in calling for further research into the medical usefulness of marijuana. Most expressed concern about possible physical (68 percent) and mental (77 percent) consequences, while 88 percent thought it could be addictive.

Chan and co-author Dan Matlock are now working to study how students are being educated about medical marijuana and its potential for health or harm.

"Clearly, medical students have a need for excellent education on marijuana," said Matlock, MD, MPH, and associate professor of geriatrics at the CU School of Medicine. "There's a lot we don't know and, medically, there is so little data."
-end-
References:

1. Chan, M.H. et al. (2016). Colorado Medical Students' Attitudes and Beliefs about Marijuana, Journal of General Internal Medicine. DOI 10.1007/s11606-016-3957-y
2. The Journal of General Internal Medicine is the official journal of the Society of General Internal Medicine.
3. Although legal under state law, marijuana is still a schedule 1 substance that is illegal under federal law.

Springer

Related Marijuana Articles:

Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths
Paper looks at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications.
Legalizing marijuana will harm health of youth in Canada
The federal government's bill C-45 to legalize marijuana in Canada will jeopardize the health of young people and Parliament should vote against it, argues the interim editor-in-chief of CMAJ in an editorial.
Study: Trying new marijuana products and edibles is associated with unexpected highs
A new study by RTI International suggests that unexpected highs are a consequence of using new marijuana products and edibles--products that have flooded the marijuana market since legalization of recreational marijuana use.
Marijuana use tied to poorer school performance
When high school students started smoking marijuana regularly they were less likely to get good grades and want to pursue university, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.
Chili peppers and marijuana calm the gut
You wouldn't think chili peppers and marijuana have much in common.
Depression, alcohol, and marijuana linked to later use of synthetic marijuana among teens
In the first prospective study of synthetic cannabinoids or SCs -- the group of chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana -- researchers have found that symptoms of depression, drinking alcohol, or using marijuana was linked to an increased risk of SC use one year later.
Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college
College students who consume medium-to-high levels of alcohol and marijuana have a consistently lower GPA, according to a study published March 8, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Shashwath Meda from Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living, USA, and colleagues.
How can marijuana policy protect the adolescent brain?
As more states begin to legalize the use of marijuana, more young people may believe that it's safe to experiment with the drug.
Shift in some teens' use and perceptions of marijuana after recreational marijuana is legalized
Marijuana use significantly increased and its perceived harm decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington state following enactment of recreational marijuana laws, according to a UC Davis and Columbia University study.
Did teen perception, use of marijuana change after recreational use legalized?
Marijuana use increased and the drug's perceived harmfulness decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults but there was no change among 12th-graders or among students in the three grades in Colorado after legalization for adults there, according to a new study published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Related Marijuana Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...