Education and attitudes on medical cannabis in family medicine residency programs

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Medical cannabis has become increasingly prevalent in the United States, however the extent of family medicine resident education on this topic remains unknown. The objective of this study was to ascertain the current state of medical cannabis education across this population and identify patterns in education based on state legality and program director (PD) practices.

METHODS: Survey questions were part of the Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance (CERA) omnibus survey from May 2019 to July 2019. PDs from all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited US family medicine residency programs received survey invitations by email.

RESULTS: A total of 251 (40.7%) PDs responded, with 209 (83.6% [209/250]) reporting at least 1 hour of didactic curriculum regarding cannabis. The most common context was substance misuse (mean 3.0±4.1 hours per 3 years), followed by pain management (2.7±3.4 hours), and management of other conditions (2.1±2.7 hours). Thirty-eight programs (15.2% [38/250]) offered clinical experiences related to medical cannabis, and PDs who had previously prescribed or recommended medical cannabis were more likely to offer this experience (P<.0001). Experiences peaked after 3 to 5 years of medical cannabis legality. PD confidence in resident counseling skills was low overall, but did increase among programs with clinical experiences (P=.0033).

CONCLUSIONS: The current trajectory of medical cannabis use in the United States makes it likely that residents will care for patients interested in medical cannabis, therefore it is important residents be prepared to address this reality. Opportunities exist for improving medical cannabis education in family medicine residency programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-735
Number of pages6
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

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© 2020, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

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