For Patients’ Sake – When Doctors Do Not Recommend

The endocannabinoid system and the healing benefits of cannabis is not a subject historically taught to medical students, thus the majority of physicians and other medical professionals are not educated on this subject. If they have been taught anything about this plant it has been the complete opposite – that cannabis is a dangerous and addictive drug that can cause a number of long-term health risks. For this reason, many doctors are hesitant to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients.

Whether it be the result of a lack of knowledge and education on cannabis, the legal risks, or being instructed not to participate, many states have experienced hesitation from doctors in regards to signing up to recommend medical cannabis for patients.

For example, as of November 2016, Maryland only had 1% of the states 16,000 doctors registered to recommend medical cannabis. Two of the state’s largest hospital systems banned their physicians from participating. Illinois faced similar difficulties last year after the state passed medical cannabis legislation. Many hospitals and health systems in the area did not allow or strongly discouraged their doctors from participating and recommending medical cannabis. When Massachusetts first passed its medical cannabis law, Boston Globe found that many of the state’s doctors were avoiding recommending medical cannabis to their patients.

A few examples of the many delays states have experienced from not having enough doctors willing or eligible to recommend medical cannabis. In all these situations, patients have limited access to medicine, dispensaries have limited access to patients, and markets are left stalled or in limbo.

For the doctors that have an understanding about medical cannabis and are willing to legally recommend to qualified patients, reports show doctors have found medical cannabis has become a beneficial niche business. More important than that, many doctors have found that medical cannabis has become a valuable option for them when treating patients who cannot find relief via traditional treatment options.

With a growing number of qualified patients, and an overall low participation rate from doctors, there is a clear need for the services only doctors can provide. Now the challenge becomes introducing quality, accredited courses, to doctors that makes it very easy for them to attend and participate.  Local events that do not have an expensive price tag are important to attract medical professionals who may be interested in the industry. Doctors who are on the fence about medical cannabis, but still seeking further education, may be more likely to attend a course at a local venue, rather than travel several hours and pay hundreds of dollars to attend a national or regional industry event.  

The PA Medicinal Cannabis Education Tour was created to eliminate those barriers for medical professionals across the state of Pennsylvania. The mission of the tour is to educate health care professionals regarding the basic science underlying the pharmacologic and therapeutic options associated with medical cannabis in patient care, and provide clinical insights on the use of medicinal cannabis in practice. The PA Medicinal Cannabis Education Tour will consist of six different events across the state of Pennsylvania, one in each health region outlined by the Department of Health. CE Credits will be available for all locations and are provided by The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University.  

The first event on the PA Medicinal Cannabis Education Tour is Tuesday, July 25th, in Philadelphia at Bluemle Life Sciences Building at Thomas Jefferson University. Unable to attend in Philadelphia? Visit the PA Medicinal Cannabis Education Tour website for a full list of event dates, venues, and ticket information. Space is limited at each venue and due to the recent developments in Pennsylvania’s Medical Cannabis market, tickets are selling fast!

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