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Survey finds uneven trained in cannabis therapy among cannabis dispensary staff

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With research suggesting that lots of patients with cancer are employing cannabis for medical purposesand oncology teams maintaining offer little guidance about its usepatients tend to be turning for advice to staff at cannabis dispensaries. A fresh study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute shows that despite dedication by many dispensary workers to teach themselves about medical cannabis, dispensaries often prioritize sales skills over cannabis knowledge, and the amount of on-the-job training at dispensaries is notably uneven.

The analysis, published online today by the journal JCO Oncology Practice, is founded on in-depth interviews with 26 workers at cannabis dispensaries in 13 states. If the outcomes are confirmed by way of a larger, quantitative study, they obligate the to make sure patients have reliable resources of guidance about medical cannabis, study authors say.

“Our study opens the entranceway to discussing that people as clinicians might not be in a position to completely defer responsibility for advising patients to the dispensaries,” says the study’s first author, Ilana Braun, MD, of Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “We have to figure out methods to address this matter.”

In a previous study by Braun and her colleagues, 80% of oncologists surveyed said they discussed medical cannabis with patients, but only 30% felt qualified to provide tips for its use. In the lack of clinical guidance, dispensary personnel often end up being the default way to obtain info on medical cannabis, research suggests. In a 2020 paper predicated on interviews with patients with cancer, Braun’s team discovered that almost all respondents were consistently getting the majority of their suggestions about from non-medical sources, chiefly dispensary personnel, on topics which range from dosages to properties of different strains.

“If patients are increasingly being deferred to the dispensaries, we wished to know who works there, how they’re trained, and what they tell patients with cancer,” Braun comments.

For the brand new study, investigators conducted phone interviews with 26 employees in managerial and client-facing positions at dispensaries in 13 states. The responses revealed a solid dedication with their field for many workers but an extremely inconsistent degree of cannabis therapeutics training among dispensary staff.

“The dispensary personnel we interviewed are actually passionate in what they’re doing and so are trying very difficult to give advice. They’re spending so much time within their off hours, spending money on their very own coursework, and doing whatever they are able to to understand,” Braun says. They reported, however, that dispensaries often make hiring decisions based more on sales skills than expertise in cannabis therapeutics. Many said workplace trained in therapeutics was unstandardized and weak.

“We’re hearing from patients they want these details from their oncology team,” study co-author Manan Nayak, Ph.D., of Dana-Farber says. “At this time, the system is established in order that everyoneoncologists and dispensary personnelis employed in silos. It falls to the individual to discover where you can go, get information from dispensary personnel, try different products, and perhaps report back again to their oncologist. The onus is frequently on the individual to talk to the dispensary. There must be a method to close the loop between your dispensary and the clinical team.”

The senior writer of the analysis is William Pirl, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s. Co-authors are Jane Roberts, Ph.D., of Dana-Farber; Peter Chai, MD, of Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women’s, and the Fenway Institute; James Tulsky, MD, of Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s; and Donald Abrams, MD, of Zuckerberg SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA General Hospital.

More info: Ilana M. Braun et al, Backgrounds and Trainings in Cannabis Therapeutics of Dispensary Personnel, JCO Oncology Practice (2022). DOI: 10.1200/OP.22.00129

Citation: Survey finds uneven trained in cannabis therapy among cannabis dispensary staff (2022, August 15) retrieved 15 August 2022 from

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