Primary care physicians' attitudes and knowledge regarding medical cannabis and willingness to prescribe it: The Israeli experience

Limor Adler*, Galia Zacay, Yochai Schonmann, Joseph Azuri, Ilan Yehoshua, Shlomo Vinker, Michal Shani, Anthony D. Heymann, Robert Hoffman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Use of medical cannabis (MC) in Israel has increased since its regulatory approval in 2016. Currently, more than 1% of Israeli adults are treated with MC; this requires primary care physicians (PCPs) to be familiar with this treatment option. Objectives: We assessed the attitudes and knowledge of Israeli PCPs toward MC and evaluated their willingness to prescribe it for different medical conditions. Methods: A cross-sectional survey which was distributed to PCPs in Israel. Physicians were asked about their opinions, knowledge, and willingness to prescribe MC. Results: Two hundred and one PCPs answered the questionnaire. Their average age was 47 years (±11.2), 71% were specialists. 51% of the respondents thought that MC is an effective treatment. 63% replied that they had little knowledge and 75% indicated that they would like to deepen it. 61% of the respondents were willing to initiate an MC treatment for a dying patient, while less than 50% were willing to initiate MC treatment for various other conditions. Most respondents indicated that they were willing to renew a prescription for any approved medical condition. Willingness to prescribe MC increased for physicians who agreed that MC was effective (odds ratio [OR] 21.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.40-200.85), for physicians who strongly agreed with the statement that they had sufficient knowledge (OR 5.0, 95% CI 1.58-15.83) and for residents compared with specialists (OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.52-10.73). Conclusions: Our survey revealed PCPs' differing opinions and insufficient knowledge regarding treatment with MC. These findings suggest that continuing medical education regarding MC is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Practice
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • addiction medicine
  • community medicine
  • health law
  • marijuana use
  • observational (cross-sectional) research
  • primary care

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