Most Docs Support Medical Marijuana, But Need Training
by D. Beaulieu; http://www.fiercehealthpayer.com/; 8/13/14
As medical cannabis legalization expands, many U.S. physicians agree it has clinical benefits, but want more information on the medical science of cannabis and just how it may help their patients.
One of the key barriers to raised physician training, however, is limited clinical data. "Because the nonresponsive federal government's repression of research is the main reason we all know so little medically about cannabis," George Lundberg, M.D., Medscape's editor-at -large, told Medical Practice Insider. "The federal coffers … should now be opened wide to guide serious marijuana research locally as well as with the clinic and laboratory," added the clinical pathologist.
So far, 23 U.S. states and also the District of Columbia enacted laws that remove criminal sanctions to the medical usage of marijuana, define eligibility for such use and permit some means of access, noted another article from Medical Practice Insider. Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania also have either pending medical cannabis legislation or scheduled ballot measures.
The Florida Medical Association spoke out against its state's proposal this week, citing concerns that clinicians even less prepared than physicians would be allowed to offer patients the drug, as outlined by News-press.com. "We believe the unintended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough for all of us to believe they constitute a public hazard to health for Floridians," wrote Alan Pillersdorf, M.D., a Palm Springs plastic surgeon and president from the association. "The lack of clear definitions within the amendment will allow healthcare providers with simply no training inside ordering of controlled substances, to order medical cannabis."
In Massachusetts, which passed medical cannabis legislation in 2012, the state medical association held its first CME event about medical marijuana in June. Although the Massachusetts Medical Society originally opposed the Commonwealth's legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, it offered the course to steer its members in navigating legislation, CommonHealth reported, adding that physicians need to complete a CME course on medical cannabis if they want the option of certifying patients.
"It's very frightening like a physician," said conference attendee Marisa Bochman, M.D., who practices family medicine in Hamilton, Massachusetts. "You know most of us have been put inside position where there were to sort of swim on our own, and I wish we had a lot of this information long ago."