Providers Show Interest in Prescribing Therapeutic Cannabinoids

Researchers from the George Washington University surveyed dermatologists on their interest and knowledge on cannabinoids for dermatologic treatment
December 9, 2018
Dr. Adam Friedman posing for a portrait

WASHINGTON (Dec. 10, 2018) — The cannabis plant and its derivatives have been used in medicinal treatments for millennia. With the recent legalization of medical marijuana in 33 states across the country, as well as Washington, D.C., several specialties are weighing the possibilities of integrating cannabinoids into patient therapies, including dermatology.

Recent research has identified potential uses for cannabinoids, which are derived either from the resin of the cannabis plant or synthetically produced in the lab, in treatment for conditions such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and wound healing.

A team from the George Washington University (GW) recently conducted a web-based survey to determine the perspectives of dermatology providers on the uses and potential benefits of cannabinoids as therapies in dermatology, as well as their knowledge about cannabinoids in general.

“Patients are enthusiastic about exploring the use of cannabinoids as part of their therapeutic armamentarium, and even initiate the conversation with their dermatologists,” said Adam Friedman, MD, professor of dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and senior author on the study.

Five hundred and thirty-one participants answered 19 multiple choice questions on demographics as well as perspectives on and knowledge of cannabinoids use in dermatology.

The survey revealed that, overall, dermatology providers are interested in learning more about and recommending cannabinoids to their patients. However, they are currently lacking in knowledge on cannabinoids and many posed concerns about the associated societal stigmas, limiting their pursuit of these active agents as potential treatments. These results, the authors wrote, show the need for further education and research on the benefits and risks of cannabinoids in dermatology.

“The use of cannabis in medicine is a hot topic,” Friedman said. “With the amount of mainstream coverage and the interest from patients, it’s important that dermatology providers are able to make the right call when it comes to education and recommending cannabinoids to their patients.”

The study, titled “Knowledge, Perceptions, and Attitudes of Cannabinoids in the Dermatology Community,” was published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

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