Updated on June 8, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The medical marijuana program in Massachusetts requires doctors to register with the state before recommending marijuana therapy to their patients. For most medical practitioners, medical training is ongoing throughout their career. Training in the use of medical marijuana can be difficult to obtain because of the restrictions under federal law. The Massachusetts Medical Society now offers an extensive training course for doctors and other medical professionals who want to recommend medical marijuana treatment to their patients.
Purpose of Medical Marijuana Training
Massachusetts law protects medical care providers from prosecution for recommending cannabis products to their patients. Doctors are still unable to write a prescription for any medication derived from the cannabis plant because of the Food and Drug Administration ban. When making recommendations for treatment options to patients, doctors who are registered with the medical marijuana program are exempt from prosecution under state law.
The medical use of cannabis and its various extracts dates back centuries. The modern medical use of these substances only recently developed through state laws that make pot accessible to patients with certain conditions. Most of these state medical marijuana programs strictly control the use, production and distribution of cannabis and medical products containing cannabis.
Because the medical marijuana industry is developing rapidly, it can be difficult for doctors and medical providers to keep up with the potential uses for marijuana products:
Many of the cannabinoids, active ingredients found in cannabis, are recently discovered.
The specific uses of many of these substances, and their benefits, are still being studied and documented.
The Massachusetts Medical Society provides continuing medical education for healthcare professionals around the world and is seen as an authority on medical education. It recently announced it will offer an extensive course on the use of cannabis for various medical outcomes. It uses a curriculum developed by The Answer Page, a well-known provider of medical education.
Explaining How Marijuana Can Help Medical Conditions
The Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum gives an introduction to cannabinoids and their reactions in the endocannabinoid system. This information provides the basis for how medical marijuana works in the brain and can be used to alter dysfunctions that ultimately stem from brain activity.
The endocannabinoid system is the part of the brain and central nervous system that processes appetite, mood and memory. This is where the primary effects of medical marijuana take place. By altering the balance of several chemicals naturally occurring in the EDS, cannabis can be used to:
Eliminate nerve pain
It eases many other symptoms of debilitating conditions that until now could not be treated
The Massachusetts program seeks to bring science-based information to doctors and other medical providers who choose to discuss medical marijuana with their patients. Many doctors welcome an opportunity to explore cannabis treatment for their patients who suffer symptoms not controlled by any other treatments available to them.
The 16-step course on medical marijuana covers the physical and psychological effects of marijuana on the body. The online program also educates doctors about the history of cannabis and provides some guidance on when to recommend medical marijuana treatment.
Who Should Use the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Program?
Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum is delivered online in 16 modules. Each module provides continuing medical education credits that can be applied to different topics of study. Medical practitioners who can learn from this course include:
Any healthcare providers who treat patients will benefit from the Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum. The state of Massachusetts recently legalized recreational marijuana. Even medical practitioners who do not intend to recommend medical marijuana should have a greater understanding of its effects on the body. If you treat patients who are self-medicating, it is helpful to know about their drug of choice.
Benefits to Doctors of Learning About Medical Marijuana
One of the biggest boons this course provides to doctors is updated, unbiased information about how marijuana works. A lot of the information available now about the use of cannabis for medical purposes is provided by producers or distributors who have a financial interest in convincing doctors to recommend it to their patients.
The Massachusetts Medical Society implementing this program gives it credibility from the medical community:
The information presented is meant to help doctors treat their patients.
Medical cannabis products represent a new tool for doctors to provide treatment options for patients suffering with debilitating diseases.
Marijuana does not offer a cure to chronic disease, but it can be used to reduce suffering and improve quality of life.
Cannabis research is partially possible because of advanced understanding of brain science. Learning more about how cannabinoids work helps doctors in their overall understanding of chronic diseases that cause seizures, muscle spasms and nerve pain.
Better Options for Pain Management
Pain management can be something doctors struggle to provide for their patients. A better understanding of how pain is perceived and can be blocked from the brain helps doctors renew hope for patients who suffer from chronic conditions.
Seizure disorders, for instance, often leave doctors powerless to treat patients effectively. Learning more about the potential uses of cannabis for seizures gives them a new tool to use in the battle against seizure disorders. Treatment for traumatic brain injury, including acute and long-term symptoms, can be enhanced by knowledge of how cannabinoids can aid in the healing process.
Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum will help doctors assist their patients and satisfy their continuing medical education (CME) requirements at the same time.
How to Sign up for the Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum
The online course is available on the Massachusetts Medical Society website. Each module can be taken separately and offers CME credits in a particular area. You have to be a member to purchase the course. You can apply for membership on the website and then sign up for the course.
If you are not a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum and other cannabis-related medical courses are also available on The Answer Page.
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