An Introduction to Medical Cannabis and Drug Education 

 

Cannabis medicine, according to Drug Science, should be an essential part of medical students' education. Healthcare professionals are hesitant to prescribe something with which they have little or no experience treating patients and which lacks the wealth of data from randomised controlled trials that is expected today. As a result, Drug Science has created an educational program that covers the "must-know" information about medicinal cannabis. ‘We intend to make these educational resources available to all medical learning institutions’. Each team will include a specialist consultant, nurse, general practitioner, and pharmacist, all of whom work in the medicinal cannabis field in the UK. Their discussions will include real-life case studies from the following fields: pain, mental health, neurology, oncology, women's health, and palliative care. It’s important to note here that the once ago medical hierarchy ruled the day, and nurses were rarely allowed to consider their opinions to be important, despite the fact that their role is critical in how patients manage their symptoms.

 

Educating care providers could occur through continual learning or specialised training, Alternatively, the medical team could provide patients with verified and factual educational materials. Another option is to include a cannabis expert on the medical team; this eliminates the need to find a new prescriber and streamlines communication among all members of the treatment team. It is important to note that patients seeking information from untrustworthy sources are likely to encounter inconsistent recommendations, which will complicate their goal of effective cannabis-based therapy and potentially jeopardise their well-being; as a result, increased integration between all parties involved in treatment is recommended. And, while a webinar series may be used to provide practical education for health professionals about real-life clinical applications of cannabis medicines, the sessions will be equally valuable for patients, caregivers, or anyone interested in learning more about how CBMPs can provide symptom relief in a variety of indications.

 

Physicians are expected to set aside their political beliefs and concentrate on their medical training. We have nothing to fall back on in the case of cannabis. Whether we like it or not, physicians have been designated as the cannabis industry's gatekeepers. While each state has its own set of rules, there is one thing that they all have in common. A physician or other medical professional must recommend or grant permission for someone to be eligible for medical cannabis. That entails understanding the risks, benefits, alternative treatments, complementary treatments, indications, contraindications, and potential medication interactions. Patients bring questions to emergency departments and primary care settings, and they expect us to know the answers. Parents are taking their children to paediatricians for treatment of autism, seizures, and cancer. They anticipate that they will have the answers. Patients bring specific questions to their obstetricians, rheumatologists, oncologists, and neurologists, and they expect them to know the answers. Whether you believe cannabis is a beneficial therapeutic tool or a scourge on society, it is the responsibility of healthcare practitioners to stay up to date on relevant research. We are fortunate to live in an era when we can educate ourselves online. To cover this otherwise daunting amount of information, we can stay current on research and journals, participate in online professional communities, and even take comprehensive courses.

 

Medical schools have an obligation to adequately prepare their students for the country's current health needs. It is not a political position. The only reason cannabis should not be taught in medical school is if it is thought to be inert. Advocating for a topic is not the same as teaching about it. We rarely prescribe alcohol, but I can't tell you how many hours we've spent talking about it. We owe it to the public to explain the risks and benefits of alternative options. Patients are acutely aware of cannabis as an option, particularly in the midst of the opioid epidemic. Their doctor should be able to explain the plant's risks and benefits as a treatment option. They instead shrug their shoulders. Healthcare providers have no idea whether it will help. They have no idea that it has been clearly demonstrated to reduce opiate and alcohol use. While the overall risks of cannabis use versus non-use are hotly debated, there is no doubt that the risk of cannabis is far lower than that of opioids or alcohol.

 

The fact is, our patients don’t care if there is evidence. They are using cannabis, often times without medical supervision, because it may be helping them. They are not getting the essential guidance they need because medical professionals are improperly trained. While they are taking the initiative to use cannabis, they are turning to their physicians with questions. We, as a medical community, are not prepared to guide them through these important medical decisions. Surely we should.