As more states add to the ever growing “green list” for legalizing medical cannabis, the marijuana movement is quickly outpacing the medical profession’s understanding of it. In a study published in the fall of 2017, researchers found that fewer than 10% of the medical schools included medical marijuana in their curricula. Two-thirds of medical school deans reported that their graduates “were not at all prepared to prescribe medical marijuana,” and a quarter reported that their graduates “were not at all prepared to answer questions about medical marijuana.”

Even more concerning, the survey demonstrated that almost 90% of physicians in the final stages of their training felt they weren’t prepared to prescribe medical marijuana, and more than one-third felt they were not able to accurately answer questions about it. Almost 85% reported receiving no education about medical marijuana during medical school or residency. This means there is a huge gap between “what doctors actually know” vs “what doctors should know”; especially in a state like Texas.

Given the fact that medical marijuana is now a legitimate therapeutic option for patients in 33 other states, doctors need to be informed enough to guide their patients in an evidence- based manner and discern which patients might benefit from medical marijuana in states that it’s legal.

In Texas, only cannabidiol (CBD) is legal, which means doctors still need the proper knowledge base on how to answer questions.

With that said, the purpose of this magazine is to make sure that medical clinicians in Texas are up to speed with the overall medical cannabis knowledge and terminology. In most cases, doctors are less informed about cannabis than their patients – and that needs to be fixed.

A small percentage of doctors may have already 2 done their own research on this new form of natural medicine and may be more familiar than most doctors. However, let’s assume we need to teach doctors the walk before we teach them how to run. The real “nitty gritty” will be in a formal Medical Cannabis Certification Program we are preparing for 2019 through the LoneStar Life Science Academy.

Texas has the opportunity to create the first true medical cannabis program that is controlled by healthcare providers, certified by the state of Texas in cannabinoid science, and potentially supplied by certified pharmacies inspected by the state board of pharmacy for proper quality control. This model has been in place for decades and there is no real reason to change it to a dispensary model.

A combination of political posturing with the lack of medical cannabis knowledge has kept Texas far behind other states in legalizing medical cannabis for Texas patients. The goal of this MD420 edition is to help build a knowledge base for politicians to make educated decisions for their constituents wanting legal access to medical cannabis, and for clinicians understand this movement and the actual science behind the hype. We hope to clear away some of the smoke around the topic so that we all make a more educated opinion.

 

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