Rural doctors' attitudes to and knowledge of medicinal cannabis

Document Type


Publication details

Irvine, G 2006, 'Rural doctors' attitudes to and knowledge of medicinal cannabis', Journal of Law and Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 135-142.

Peer Reviewed



The use of cannabis for medical purposes remains controversial. Since support from general practitioners would be needed for the successful operation of a legalised prescription regime, New South Wales Northern Rivers general practitioners were surveyed on their attitudes to and knowledge of medicinal cannabis. A representative random sample of general practitioners, stratified by age and gender, was derived and interviewed. Results indicated generally high levels of knowledge of cannabis’s medical uses. The mean number of patients seen in 2004 with medicinal cannabis-treatable conditions was 66.8, with chronic pain patients accounting for 36.7. Overwhelming majorities of respondents reported they would prescribe medicinal cannabis if it were legal, professionally supported and backed by research and that they would approve of clinical trials and a legalised regulatory scheme under such conditions. These results suggest the need to conduct a Statewide general practitioners’ survey to confirm or refute the present findings.

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