Oral Presentations

O-8: Family Medicine Residents’ Perspectives and Educational Needs Regarding Medical Cannabis

Jessie Allison,
Payman Charkhzarin

McMaster University
Centre for Family Medicine


Key Words: Cannabis, Medical Marijuana, Needs Assessment, Health Professionals

Training as family medicine (FM) residents, we noticed a clear lack of comfort amongst the medical community regarding counseling patients on cannabis use for therapeutic purposes (CTP). Due to the crucial role of family doctors in engaging in an informed discussion with patients regarding CTP, this study was conducted to determine the educational needs of Canadian FM residents regarding CTP.

A national needs assessment survey previously addressing the educational needs of physicians regarding CTP was adopted. We sought to identify and rank, using 5-point Likert scales, the most common factors involved in decision making pertaining to CTP in the following categories: knowledge, experience, attitudes, and barriers. Residents’ preferred educational approaches as well as their demographics were collected. Gap analysis was conducted to determine the magnitude and importance of differences between perceived and desired knowledge.

Thirty responses were collected via in-person survey. Residents desired more knowledge of the potential risks, safety, warning signs and precautions of using CTP. The largest gaps between current and desired knowledge levels were “Health Canada's Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) Program” and “Dosing and creating effective treatment plans”. Eighty percent of residents felt strongly about a need for education on CTP. On-line learning modules and small-group review sessions are among the top preferred educational approaches.

We have identified several key educational needs among FM residents regarding CTP. This data can be used to develop resources and educational programs to support clinicians in this area, as well as to guide further research to inform these gaps.