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Health professional beliefs, knowledge, and concerns surrounding medicinal cannabis – A systematic review

The result of this systematic review indicated that while HCPs (Healthcare Professionals) believed that medical cannabis is a viable useful therapeutic option for patients, they do not have enough knowledge and formal education to make the best decision for their patients. Consequently, they reject to prescribe or support patients to use medical cannabis or they get the information from unreliable sources such as media/news. The result of this systematic review highlights the importance of education for HCPs to ensure to offer the best possible care for patients.

This article represents the result of a systematic review of the belief, knowledge, and concerns of HCPs. The authors included 26 studies in their systematic review. Generally, HCPs supported the use of medical cannabis in their practice, however, they thought that they are not well equipped to integrate medical cannabis into their daily practice


Out of 18 studies that investigated medical practitioners’, none of them rejected the usefulness of medical cannabis in clinical practice. In 6 studies, the majority of physicians supported the use of medical cannabis and in 5 studies, medical practitioners believed that medical cannabis was a viable medical option. Among studies that sampled pharmacist, one study indicated that 55% of Canadian pharmacists agreed that medical cannabis is an effective medical option.

Studies that assessed nurses and other allied HCPs reported that although not all groups were supportive of the use of medical cannabis, very few rejected its clinical utility.

In general, medical practitioners reported that their self-perceived knowledge about both clinical (pharmacology of phyto–and synthetocannabinoids) and procedural (prescribing, cultivation, and distribution) aspects of medical cannabis was extremely low. Similarly, pharmacists reported that their knowledge about the scientific and legislative aspects of cannabis was quite low. Nurses and other allied HCPs reported poor knowledge about the clinical and administrative aspects of medical cannabis.
In three studies, medical practitioners, asked for more formal education and 70% of Canadian physicians indicated that they felt more comfortable prescribing medical cannabis if a formal education was part of their educational curriculum. Two studies reported that 20% and 60% of surveyed physicians used news and media as sources for making a clinical decision. More than 60% of Canadian hospital pharmacists reported that they did not receive any formal education about medical cannabis and the majority of pharmacists used online sources when they faced clinical questions.
In conclusion, according to this systematic review, the majority of HCPs believed that medical cannabis is a viable clinical option for some patients. HCPs also indicated that they did not receive proper, formal education about the clinical and administrative aspects of medical cannabis, and they rated their knowledge about medical cannabis very low.
You can find the full text of the study here.

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