Clinician Beliefs and Practices Related to Cannabis

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2022 Aug;7(4):508-515. doi: 10.1089/can.2020.0165. Epub 2021 Apr 26.


Introduction: Medical cannabis (marijuana) use is legal in 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Clinicians can play an important role in helping patients access and weigh potential benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess clinician beliefs and practices related to cannabis. Methods: Data are from 1506 family practice doctors, internists, nurse practitioners, and oncologists who responded to the 2018 DocStyles, a web-based panel survey of clinicians. Questions assessed medicinal uses for and practices related to cannabis and assessed clinicians' knowledge of cannabis legality in their state. Logistic regression was used to assess multivariable correlates of asking about, assessing, and recommending cannabis. Results: Over two-thirds (68.9%) of clinicians surveyed believe that cannabis has medicinal uses and just over a quarter (26.6%) had ever recommended cannabis to a patient. Clinicians who believed cannabis had medicinal uses had 5.9 times the adjusted odds (95% confidence interval 3.9-8.9) of recommending cannabis to patients. Beliefs about conditions for medical cannabis use did not necessarily align with the current scientific evidence. Nearly two-thirds (60.0%) of clinicians surveyed incorrectly reported the legal status of cannabis in their state. Discussion: Findings suggest that while clinicians believe that cannabis has medicinal uses, they may not have a full understanding of the scientific evidence and may not accurately understand their state-based policies for cannabis legalization and use. Given that clinicians are responsible for recommending medicinal cannabis in most states that have legalized it, ongoing education about the health effects of cannabis is warranted.

Keywords: behaviors; beliefs; cannabis; clinician; marijuana.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Medical Marijuana* / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Hallucinogens
  • Medical Marijuana