Date of Graduation

Spring 2021

Degree

Master of Science in Health Promotion and Wellness Management

Department

Public Health and Sports Medicine

Committee Chair

Sara Powell

Keywords

medical marijuana, medical marijuana laws, qualifying conditions, alternative treatment, healthcare workers

Subject Categories

Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion

Abstract

As states across the United States enact Medical Marijuana Laws (MMLs), it is important to understand the implications of these policies and what effect they may have on the current healthcare industry. There is a lack of medical marijuana (MM) access due to novel policy and discrepancy of state legislature between those legalizing MM use versus current federal law. As of November, 2018, the state of Missouri has adopted MM policy, yet the perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge of MM and MMLs for current and future healthcare workers remains unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to survey local healthcare workers and healthcare students of their current knowledge and perceptions of MM and MMLs. Fifty-four healthcare workers or students completed the survey. Psychometric analysis was used to assess the reliability and validity of the attitudes and perceptions survey via factor analysis and a Cronbach’s Alpha (CA) score. Four subscales were created including: Safety 8-item subscale (CA=.89), Advocacy 7-item subscale (CA=.79, Awareness 8-item subscale (CA=.70), and Misuse 8-item subscale (CA=.88). There were statistically significant differences among healthcare workers and students regarding perception of MM safety (p = .014), and perceptions that MM has been adequately studied by scientists (p = .047). Perceptions of MMLs may be changing due to an increasing number of states in the U.S with mixed policies. Public health education on MM should include safe alternatives due to the development of CBD-based therapies. This will add to current research of MM and be utilized to help clarify how policy impacts the healthcare industry within the state of Missouri. Future studies should also present validity data for measures of knowledge and perceptions of MMLs among healthcare workers and students, which could help explain the impact of MMLs on perceptions among patients and providers. However, responses show inconsistent knowledge of MMLs and a small percent have received education on MM. This population within Missouri is in direct contact with patients and should be properly educated on the subject of MMLs. Missouri’s healthcare industry should stay informed on treatments that are available to its people and provide all the necessary information about such treatment.

Copyright

© Cole Isaac Stomp

Open Access

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