Dazed & Confused: 65% of doctors who treat chronic pain say they don’t know anything about medical cannabis’s ability to treat it

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If you’re having trouble finding a doctor to help treat your chronic pain with medical cannabis, just know that you’re not alone.

Even though chronic pain is the number one reason people turn to medical cannabis, Forbes is reporting that a whopping 65% of physicians surveyed, all of whom treat chronic pain, say they’re unable to answer their patients’ questions about it.

Indeed, the vast majority (84%) of the doctors said their patients have asked them about cannabis for their pain, and for good reason: “Research is revealing increasing evidence and support for the therapeutic use of cannabis for chronic pain,” says Forbes.

But as Forbes puts it, we have a knowledge gap:

The survey reveals a glaring lack of knowledge about the therapeutic uses of cannabis among health care professionals, most of whom receive little to no education on medical marijuana or the endocannabinoid system in medical school.

This is a recurring theme and it’s recognized by some of the leaders in medicine. For instance, the Mayo Clinic issued a report 2 years ago saying that physicians are not only uninformed about medical cannabis, they can also take a dismissive attitude toward their patients, erroneously viewing medical cannabis as nothing more than a hot consumer trend.

JAMA, and a growing number of physicians agree, some pointing out that it’s “criminal” so few doctors understand medical cannabis. Clinician Caroline MacCallum, MD, who’s on the faculty of medicine at UBC describes one way this results in needless pain and suffering to the patient:

Patients suffer when they don’t get adequate information. For example, they’ll take too much cannabis because they haven’t been taught how to use it. And so their gut reaction is, I’m never going to do that again. Which is really unfortunate because with some education they could have a very different experience.

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