Health professional beliefs, knowledge, and concerns surrounding medicinal cannabis - A systematic review

PLoS One. 2019 May 6;14(5):e0216556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216556. eCollection 2019.

Abstract

Background: The number of jurisdictions allowing access to medicinal cannabis has been steadily increasing since the state of California introduced legislation in 1996. Although there is a high degree of legislative heterogeneity across jurisdictions, the involvement of a health professional is common among all. This places health professionals at the forefront of therapy, yet no systematic review of literature has offered insight into the beliefs, knowledge, and concerns of health professionals regarding medicinal cannabis.

Methods: Using a predetermined study protocol, PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Scopus databases were searched for studies indexed up to the 1st August 2018. Pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied uniformly. Screening for relevancy, full-text review, data extraction, and risk of bias were completed by two independent investigators. Risk of bias was assessed using CASP criteria (qualitative) and a modified domain-based risk assessment tool (quantitative).

Results: Of the 15,775 studies retrieved, 106 underwent full-text review and of these, 26 were included. The overall risk of bias was considered low across all included studies. The general impression was that health professionals supported the use of medicinal cannabis in practice; however, there was a unanimous lack of self-perceived knowledge surrounding all aspects of medicinal cannabis. Health professionals also voiced concern regarding direct patient harms and indirect societal harms.

Conclusion: This systematic review has offered a lens through which to view the existing literature surrounding the beliefs, knowledge, and concerns of health professionals regarding medicinal cannabis. These results are limited, however, by the implicit common-sense models of behaviour utilised by the included studies. Before strategies can be developed and implemented to change health professional behaviour, a more thorough understanding of the factors that underpin the delivery of medicinal cannabis is necessary.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Culture
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Medical Marijuana / administration & dosage*

Substances

  • Medical Marijuana

Grant support

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.