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Australas Psychiatry. 2019 Feb;27(1):80-85. doi: 10.1177/1039856218803675. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Survey of Australian psychiatrists' and psychiatry trainees' knowledge about and attitudes towards medicinal cannabinoids.

Author information

1
Psychiatry Trainee, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Kogarah, NSW, Australia.
2
Clinical Director and Senior Staff Specialist, Northern Sydney Local Health District Drug and Alcohol Services, Saint Leonards, NSW, and Conjoint Lecturer, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
3
Research Fellow, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Drug and Alcohol Services, Sydney, NSW, and; Academic Fellow, Discipline of Addiction Medicine, Central Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
4
Director and Senior Staff Specialist, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Drug and Alcohol Services, Sydney, NSW, and; Conjoint Professor, Discipline of Addiction Medicine, Central Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE::

To assess Australian psychiatrists' and psychiatry trainees' knowledge about and attitudes towards medicinal cannabinoids, given the recent relaxation of cannabinoid-prescribing laws in Australia.

METHOD::

All Australian members of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists were invited to participate in an anonymous, 64-item online questionnaire, through Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' newsletters. The questionnaire ran for a 10-week period from March to May 2017. Participants were asked about their knowledge of the evidence for and against prescribing pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, and their concerns about prescribing medicinal cannabinoids.

RESULTS::

In total, 88 doctors responded to the survey, with 55 completing all items (23 psychiatrists, 32 trainees). Overall, 54% of respondents would prescribe medicinal cannabinoids if it was legal to do so. Participants believed there was evidence for the use of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol in treating childhood epilepsy, chronic pain, and nausea and vomiting. They were most concerned about medicinal cannabinoids leading to psychotic symptoms, addiction and dependence, apathy and recreational use.

CONCLUSIONS::

Our sample of Australian psychiatrists and trainees were aware of the main clinical indications for medicinal cannabinoids, but were poor at differentiating between the indications for cannabidiol versus tetrahydrocannabinol. Further education about medicinal cannabinoids appears necessary.

KEYWORDS:

Australian psychiatrists; cannabidiol; medicinal cannabis survey; tetrahydrocannabinol

PMID:
30298754
DOI:
10.1177/1039856218803675
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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