Though more than half of the U.S. states now allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, a new study suggests that marijuana is a rarely discussed topic in medical schools across the country. A team of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, sent surveys to deans in-charge of the curriculum at 172 medical schools and received 101 replies. Surprisingly, more than two-thirds discovered that their graduate students weren’t capable of prescribing medical marijuana to patients.
As per the study findings, not even one-quarter of the students could answer the basic questions about medical marijuana. The study team also included 258 medical residents and fellows from across the country in its research. Nine out of 10 admitted that they weren’t in a position to prescribe medical marijuana, whereas 85 percent said they were not given any formal training on medical marijuana. Moreover, after a thorough examination of the Association of Medical Colleges database, the researchers found that only 9 percent of the medical schools taught their students about medical marijuana. The findings of the study were published recently in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
“As a future physician, it worries me,” said the study’s first author Anastasia Evanoff, a third-year medical student. “We need to know how to answer questions about medical marijuana’s risks and benefits, but there is a fundamental mismatch between state laws involving marijuana and the education physicians-in-training receive at medical schools throughout the country,” she added.
Experts believe that medical education in the country needs to stay abreast of the latest marijuana legislations. Since medical marijuana has been legalized in 29 states, physicians undergoing training should be made aware of the advantages and disadvantages of cannabis so that they are able to prescribe the drug according to the patients’ needs.
Marijuana may serve as a gateway drug
Due to the absence of any recognized medicinal value and the high risk of abuse, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Marijuana has the potential to alter the brain’s reward system by creating a dopamine rush, which induces users to experiment with other drugs. Studies indicate that people with a pot addiction are thrice more likely to get addicted to heroin. In the event of abuse, marijuana is known to cause drug dependence, mental health ailments and induce other risky behaviors.
On the other hand, pro-marijuana advocates consider it as one of the least-addictive mind-altering drugs that can be used as an effective remedy for chronic pain. They argue that people with chronic pain are routinely prescribed powerful painkillers that cause thousands of overdose deaths each year, so using medical marijuana could actually be a lifesaver. They believe pot also holds the potential to make health care cheaper by mitigating the opioid crisis. However, there is a great possibility that such a nationwide celebration of marijuana culture may further add to the increasing rates of addiction, spreading a wrong message in society about drug use.
Seeking professional help
Marijuana is one of the most widely used illicit drugs in the U.S. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 22 million Americans aged 12 or older were using marijuana in 2015. Sovereign Health is aware of the misery of individuals struggling with a marijuana use disorder. Our customized marijuana detox programs at our reputed marijuana addiction treatment centers in California are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically.
If you or a loved one is struggling to break free from an addiction to marijuana, contact Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, which offers a variety of customized residential therapies for all ages, including troubled teens battling a wide range of substance use disorders. Our licensed clinicians use several approaches to resolve each underlying problem. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives.