AbstractsSocial Work

Social work and medical students' perspectives on the use of cannabis as a medical intervention

by Jennifer Brooke Cogswell

Institution: California State University – Sacramento
Department: Social Work
Degree: MSW
Year: 2015
Keywords: Medical marijuana; Medical cannabis; Proposition 215; Alternative treatment
Record ID: 2058730
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/138655


This study examined the attitudes and perceived risks regarding the use of cannabis as a medical intervention from the perspectives of emerging health service professionals, with special reference to the medical and the social work professions. An exploratory, mixed methods study design was utilized, with a non-probability sample of 175 subjects from the graduate medical and the social work programs offered by two large public universities in California. The study findings indicate that pain and anxiety were the most frequently endorsed conditions for cannabis use and that both the groups of respondents rated alcohol and nicotine as having more perceived risk than cannabis. In general, both professional groups held a relatively favorable view of medical cannabis, and the difference in their mean medical cannabis acceptance scores was not statistically significant. There were statistically significant differences (p<.001) between the two professional groups of the study sample on the mean score that assessed clients/patients having experienced problems with use of medical cannabis; and on the mean endorsement score of their respective friends using medical cannabis. There was a statistically significant difference between these groups (p=.004), on the mean endorsement score of their family members??? use of cannabis. The majority of those who reported having family members that use medical cannabis endorsed the notion that their family members experienced some type of benefit related to cannabis use. Political affiliation and religious differences elicited differences in the Medical Cannabis Acceptance Score with liberal, non-Christian respondents having relatively more acceptance of medical cannabis use. Study recommendations include the need for newly constructed paradigms that help service providers assess how their value and belief systems affect the ways in which they view medical cannabis use in light of the increasing number of states that permit the legal use of cannabis for medical purposes.