Med Students Must Learn About Medical Marijuana

It’s been more than 20 years since California legalized medical marijuana with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Much of the country is just now medical marijuanacatching up to what California and our trusted attorneys have known for a long time: That marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for many illnesses and ailments. So safe, in fact, that laws are expanding to open up marijuana for recreational consumption as well, with California implementing Proposition 64 Jan. 1. We are now one of 29 states that has some form of cannabis legalization.

But we also know the more things change, the more they stay the same.

High Times recently delved into the issue of medical schools and teaching about medical marijuana to students. One medical journal study last year showed that 90 percent of med students don’t learn anything about marijuana in medical school. Less than 10 percent of medical schools have any sort of medical marijuana curriculum. And roughly 25 percent of graduates wouldn’t even feel prepared to talk about cannabis as an option with a patient.

The findings are discouraging, but not surprising considering the stigma marijuana still holds on the federal level. As our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys can explain, it is difficult to conduct medical research studies involving cannabis when it is still labeled as a Schedule I narcotic under Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812. Thus, fewer schools are teaching how to use it as a treatment and the vicious cycle continues.

So who has been prescribing medical marijuana all this time? Of course there are skilled physicians who have taken the time to study and research the benefits of medical cannabis and have written recommendations for a medical marijuana card. Writing a prescription directly is still not allowed because of marijuana’s federal classification, but state law allows a recommendation to be written for a medical card as a workaround. These doctors see patients with cancer, glaucoma, arthritis, epilepsy and more and know the substantial benefit the right form of marijuana can have on patients’ lives. 

But with a lack of physicians comfortable discussing marijuana, it’s a not-very-well-kept secret that you can get a medical marijuana recommendation pretty easily from any number of medical cannabis pop-up shops. A few minutes telling the practitioner about what ails you, and you can be out the door with a recommendation. In the pre-recreational era, many were known to take advantage of such operations to obtain marijuana for personal use. Thankfully, the law is allowing people options to legally and safely get marijuana to consume under responsible, watchful regulations.

However, this still doesn’t help patients who really need marijuana for medical treatment. Sure they can access it easily enough. Even if they don’t want to fuss with a medical recommendation card, they can simply walk into any number of shops and find what they want. But that will only lead to more people self diagnosing and self medicating. There’s a difference between a drug being safe to consume and knowing the precise dosage and best method of consumption to treat your particular ailment. That is why our attorneys are calling for more training in schools to teach the next generation of medical professionals how to maximize the healing properties of cannabis and finally give it the recognition it deserves as a legitimate form of treatment.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

Additional Resources:

10 Diseases Where Medical Marijuana Could Have an Impact, April 16, 2015, By Jen Christensen, CNN

More Blog Entries:

Issues with Medical Marijuana Clinical Studies, Nov. 2, 2017, Medical Marijuana Lawyers Blog

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