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Physicians indicate their clinical practices rely on a blend of research and anecdotal information

Between June and October 2020, the Consortium conducted a cross-sectional state-wide survey of registered medical marijuana physicians in Florida. The survey aimed to understand training needs, prescribing practices, and desired research priorities.

Led by Consortium member, Ruba Sajdeya, MD, “Practice Patterns and Training Needs Among Physicians Certifying Patients for Medical Marijuana in Florida” analyzed data from this state-wide survey.

Physicians indicated their clinical practice relies on a blend of research and anecdotal information sources. Physicians report clinical factors influencing their recommendations to patients, but treatment plans vary substantially and rely on experimental approaches.

Photo of Ruba Sajdeya
Ruba Sajdeya, MD
Consortium Graduate Student

Some key takeaways from the 116 respondents, include:

  • Among the 116 respondents, the most frequently used information sources were research articles at 95%, followed by online sources at 93%, and discussions with other providers and dispensary staff at 90%.
  • Thirty-nine percent of physicians believe safety concerns were most influential in patient recommendations, followed by specific conditions at 30% and patient preferences 30% of physicians.
  • Ninety-two percent of physicians reported they “often” or “always” perform a patient physical exam. Seventy-seven percent of physicians provided specific administration route recommendations. 
  • Online learning/training modules were the most preferred future training mode, with 84% of physicians “likely” or “very likely” to participate. The top 3 desired topics for future training were marijuana-drug interactions at 72%, management of specific medical conditions or symptoms at 72%, and strategies to reduce opioids or other drugs use at 67%.

Based on the information above, physicians indicate their clinical practices rely on a blend of research and anecdotal information sources. While physicians report clinical factors as influential during patient recommendation, patient assessment practices and treatment regimen recommendations vary substantially and rely on experimental approaches. 

More research is needed to inform evidence-based practice and training, especially considering details on drug interactions, risk-benefit of treatment for specific clinical conditions, and strategies to reduce opioid use.

Read the full research article at the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health