Veterans, Doctors Disagree Over Marijuana Legalization

the Psychiatry Advisor take:

Veterans and physicians disagree over whether marijuana should be legalized.

A small study involving 31 veterans in treatment for substance abuse found that 24 of them had a low-risk perception of legalizing marijuana, Samuel Wilkinson, MD, of the Yale School of  Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, reported at the recent American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry annual meeting.

“These results serve to highlight that there is a significant sense among individuals with substance use disorders that marijuana has few features of a drug of abuse,” Wilkinson and colleagues wrote. “By extension, the legalization of marijuana is not only appropriate, but would serve to move it out of a space where it acts as a connection to other drugs and criminal activity.”

Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would allow physicians associated with Veterans Affairs medical centers to recommend marijuana to vets. Some research has indicated that cannabis is effective in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another study presented at the same meeting found that among medical school faculty at a university, 80% said they did not have enough knowledge to recommend marijuana as a therapeutic treatment, according to a presentation by reported Aman Mahajan, MD and Ayame Takahashi, MD, of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

Also, 77% of those queried said that using marijuana for medical purposes has “substantial health and mental health risks.” However, 62% of the physicians in the study said that the Drug Enforcement Agency should remove cannabis from its list of Schedule I illicit drugs and legalize it for recreational use.

Nearly two-thirds of the med school doctors polled said that training on medical marijuana prescribing should be part of the school’s residency curriculum.

 

Military Veterans, Doctors Disagree Over Marijuana Legalization
Military Veterans, Doctors Disagree Over Marijuana Legalization

A small group of veterans in a substance abuse program said that marijuana should be legalized, while a separate group of physicians said they were not convinced of the health benefits of marijuana, researchers reported.

Among 31 veterans in treatment for a substance abuse disorder who took part in in-person interviews, 24 (77%) had low-risk perception of marijuana use, reported Samuel Wilkinson, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues.

In a separate study among medical school faculty at one university, 80% said that they did not have sufficient knowledge to recommend marijuana, while 77% concluded that medical marijuana carried "substantial health and mental health risks," reported Aman Mahajan, MD, and Ayame Takahashi, MD, of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

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