Medical Marijuana in Florida: The Knowledge, Practices and Attitudes of Providers

Krystal Hemingway,
Florida State University

Objectives: To describe the knowledge, practices, and attitudes of Florida Medical Doctors (MDs), Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs), Physician Assistants (PAs), and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) regarding medical marijuana (MM).

Methods: We utilized a descriptive Web-based cross-sectional quantitative survey using a sample of Florida providers. The survey questionnaire was adapted from a Washington State MM Healthcare Professional survey instrument to reflect Florida Statutes. A link to this questionnaire was sent to 10,540 providers in Florida through Qualtrics®. The distribution was based on stratified random sampling to yield a representative sample number within each group. After evaluating the response rate, a second stratified random sample with 10,540 providers was selected and recruited based on the same distribution.

Results: A total of 561 providers completed the survey (242 MDs, 39 DOs, 221 APRNs, 59 PAs). Almost two-thirds (63.2%) of respondents were not familiar with Florida Statutes, particularly regarding the conditions that qualify patients for MM. Only one-third (31.7%) has completed continuing education about MM.  Furthermore, many providers (86.8%) in Florida reported a lack of access to the MM registry. Provider attitudes included a concern about a lack of evidence-based practice. Only 8.3% (n =40) were qualified providers in the state. Of those who are qualified to provide authorizations, 57.5% (n =23) had provided a MM authorization. Of those who were not qualified to provide an authorization, 23.5% (n=132) had recommended a patient consult with a qualified MM provider.

Conclusions: This is the first study to report a knowledge deficit of Florida providers regarding MM. Despite legalization of MM in Florida, this research indicates providers have not educated themselves on its use nor are many offering MM authorizations. This finding is significant as it suggests limited access to MM authorizations for patients who qualify and might benefit from MM use. Future research could investigate whether receiving MM training influences provider practices and patient access. Florida policy makers should consider revisions to law making MM more accessible such as adding APRNs as qualified providers.

Co-authors: Geraldine Martorella1,  Glenna Schluck1, Louise Kaplan2,

1 Florida State University 2Washington State University

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