Should Medical Schools Start Teaching About Cannabis?


Medical marijuana is legal currently in 29 states, and more are looking to pass marijuana legislation this year. Despite all this legislative progress in medical and recreational cannabis, doctors are often ill-equipped to discuss the realities of medical marijuana or dismissive of its benefits. Consequently, doctors and patients alike are wondering: Should medical schools start teaching about cannabis? Considering marijuana’s plethora of newly discovered medical uses, its growth in popularity, and progress in its research internationally, it’s time for the American medical community to educate our doctors on our favorite herb.

A Brief History of the Medical Community and Cannabis

There is a lot of smoke when it comes to doctors, cannabis, and big pharma.

As Alan Hirsch of the cannabis science company, Diagnostic Lab Corporation, explains, “Big Pharma is lobbying against legalization, on the purported grounds of safety, but in reality, they are just buying time to create their own synthetic cannabis medicines.”

Big Pharma has a fairly contradictory relationship with marijuana.

Furthermore, through their campaign to stop legal marijuana, big pharma is preventing doctors from accessing the herb. This amounts to difficulty prescribing it and learning about its advantages.

Almost no doctors receive formal marijuana education

Should Medical Schools Start Teaching About Cannabis?

As High Times reported in September, 90 percent of doctors learn nothing about medical marijuana in medical school according to a study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

This makes sense, considering that only nine percent of medical schools have a curriculum that covers medical marijuana. These figures come from the Association of Medical Colleges.

They collected the findings of the 100 medical schools that surveyed their students about marijuana education. The vast majority of medical students claim to be ill-prepared to prescribe marijuana.

The survey also found that 25 percent wouldn’t feel comfortable even discussing cannabis with their patients.

No formal education on marijuana means fewer medical marijuana prescriptions

The consequences of marijuana ignorance are wide-reaching. To prescribe a medication, doctors need to have formally studied the substance beforehand.