Cureus. 2022 Apr 22;14(4):e24390. doi: 10.7759/cureus.24390. eCollection 2022 Apr.


BACKGROUND: There has been a recent uptick in interest regarding the therapeutic properties of cannabis. Evidence exists to support the role of medical cannabis (MC) in chronic illness management for conditions such as posttraumatic stress, pain, and cancer. The majority of physicians in the United States report not knowing how to prescribe or answer questions about MC and receive minimal education about it during training. As MC becomes more socially acceptable with federal legalization in process, new physicians will encounter patients looking for information on the utility and safety of MC. The goal of this research was thus to assess the perceived knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions of medical students towards MC, and to obtain a better understanding of factors that may influence their attitudes.

METHODS: A descriptive, cross-sectional study design was used to investigate the medical students’ knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding MC. Quantitative data were collected from 526 medical students (years one to four) via an anonymous, online, 32-item questionnaire to determine if perceived knowledge, concerns about the potential negative effects of cannabis, and certain beliefs would significantly contribute to their attitudes toward MC. Hypothesis testing was conducted using Spearman-rank order correlation and multivariate linear regression analyses.

RESULTS: A statistically significant regression equation was found: (F(4, 428)=114.826, p<.001 with an R2 =0.518 [adjusted R2 =0.513]) indicating greater perception of knowledge about MC, lower concern for possible negative effects of MC use, greater belief in federal legalization of MC, and greater belief in the federal legalization of recreational cannabis significantly contributed to a higher score on positive attitudes and perceptions toward MC. Moreover, while many participants reported physicians should be able to prescribe MC, they reported that little if any MC education had been provided.

CONCLUSIONS: This study identified the knowledge, concerns, and perceptions of medical students regarding MC as well as several factors contributing to their attitudes about it. Favorable attitudes toward MC among patients exist and as its popularity and acceptance among patients continue, more may be asking their physicians about symptomatic and curative treatment with cannabis-based products. Results from this research have the potential to assist medical educators in understanding students’ perceptions about MC to help guide innovative and contemporary curricular advances as a public health imperative.

PMID:35619867 | PMC:PMC9126474 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.24390

Source: ncbi 2

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