PubMed: Dispensary Staff Perceptions About the Benefits, Risks, and Safety of Cannabis for Medical Purposes

PubMed: Dispensary Staff Perceptions About the Benefits, Risks, and Safety of Cannabis for Medical Purposes

Subst Abus. 2023 Sep 14:8897077231186677. doi: 10.1177/08897077231186677. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Therapeutic use of cannabis is common in the United States (up to 18.7% of Americans aged ≥12), and dispensaries in the US are proliferating rapidly. However, the efficacy profile of medical cannabis is unclear, and customers often rely on dispensary staff for purchasing decisions. The objective was to describe cannabis dispensary staff perceptions of medical cannabis benefits and risks, as well as its safety in high-risk populations.

METHODS: Online Survey study conducted using Qualtrics from February 13, 2020 to October 2, 2020 with a national sample of dispensary staff who reportedinteracting with customers in a cannabis dispensary selling tetrahydrocannabinol-containing products. Participants were queried about benefits (“helpfulness”) and risks (“worry”) about cannabis for a variety of medical conditions, and safety in older adults and pregnant women on a five-point Likert scale. These results were then collapsed into three categories including “neutral” (3/5). “I don’t know” (uncertainty) was a response option for helpfulness and safety.

RESULTS: Participants (n = 434) were from 29 states and included patient-facing dispensary staff (40%); managers (32%); pharmacists (13%); and physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants (5%). Over 80% of participants perceived cannabis as helpful for post-traumatic stress disorder (88.7%), epilepsy (85.3%) and cancer (83.4%). Generally, participants were not concerned about potential cannabis risks, including increased use of illicit drugs (76.3%), decreases in intelligence (74.4%), disrupted sleep (71.7%), and new/worsening health problems from medical cannabis use (70.7%). Cannabis was considered safe in older adults by 81.3% of participants, though there was much less consensus on safety in pregnancy.

CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis dispensary staff generally view medical cannabis as beneficial and low-risk. However, improvements in dispensary staff training, an increased role for certifying clinicians, and interventions to reduce dispensary staff concerns (e.g., cost, judgment) may improve evidence-based staff recommendations to patients seeking medical cannabis.

PMID:37706479 | DOI:10.1177/08897077231186677–a3-xbLzPoB9xM&fc=20220928170152&ff=20230914190550&v=2.17.9.post6+86293ac September 14, 2023 10:00 am