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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Sep 4;180:151-155. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.08.010. [Epub ahead of print]

Physicians-in-training are not prepared to prescribe medical marijuana.

Author information

1
Medical Education, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA.
4
Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA. Electronic address: laura@wustl.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

While medical marijuana use is legal in more than half of U.S. states, evidence is limited about the preparation of physicians-in-training to prescribe medical marijuana. We asked whether current medical school and graduate medical educational training prepare physicians to prescribe medical marijuana.

METHODS:

We conducted a national survey of U.S. medical school curriculum deans, a similar survey of residents and fellows at Washington University in St. Louis, and a query of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Curriculum Inventory database for keywords associated with medical marijuana.

RESULTS:

Surveys were obtained from 101 curriculum deans, and 258 residents and fellows. 145 schools were included in the curriculum search. The majority of deans (66.7%) reported that their graduates were not at all prepared to prescribe medical marijuana, and 25.0% reported that their graduates were not at all prepared to answer questions about medical marijuana. The vast majority of residents and fellows (89.5%) felt not at all prepared to prescribe medical marijuana, while 35.3% felt not at all prepared to answer questions, and 84.9% reported receiving no education in medical school or residency on medical marijuana. Finally, only 9% of medical school curriculums document in the AAMC Curriculum Inventory database content on medical marijuana.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study highlights a fundamental mismatch between the state-level legalization of medical marijuana and the lack of preparation of physicians-in-training to prescribe it. With even more states on the cusp of legalizing medical marijuana, physician training should adapt to encompass this new reality of medical practice.

KEYWORDS:

Cannabis; Marijuana; Medical education

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