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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GW and D.C. team up to create course on medical marijuana

Faculty from the Milken Institute School of Public Health are teaming up with experts across the nation to create a course on medical cannabis for medical professionals. Hatchet file photo by Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
Faculty from the Milken Institute School of Public Health are teaming up with experts across the nation to create a course on medical cannabis for medical professionals. Hatchet File Photo by Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Justine Coleman.

GW researchers hope a new online course will help those who prescribe medical marijuana learn more about the effectiveness of the drug.

Faculty at the Milken Institute School of Public Health with the Continuing Education for Health Professionals joined officials from the D.C. Department of Health to develop three online courses to teach medical professionals more about prescribing medical marijuana and other prescription drugs.

The three modules are being launched through the D.C. Center for Rational Prescribing and focus on cannabis pharmacology, efficacy and effects and how marijuana interacts with other drugs.

Susan Wood, an associate professor specializing in health policy and environmental and occupational health and the lead investigator for the program, said marijuana education is becoming popular in D.C. because the District was one of the first areas in the country to allow medical marijuana to be prescribed.

“There was a focus on that because there’s very little information about it and because D.C. allows for the recommending of medical marijuana for medical purposes, and so it was a gap that the District really felt needed to be filled,” Wood said.

D.C.’s SafeRx Amendment Act of 2008 guided the Department of Health to develop resources for those involved in health care that are unbiased and not influenced by pharmaceutical marketing, which created the DCRx. The District then recruited GW for content, experts and the ability to accredit continuing medical education, Wood said.

She said researchers from GW and Georgetown University, as well as other experts around the country, came together to evaluate research on medical cannabis and prescription drugs and find where there were gaps in the information.

Wood added that about a year ago, the DCRx moved to create an online education center for subscribers. Two courses were published before the program launched the courses on marijuana.

“The problem is that there wasn’t much out there for prescribers and physicians to go to that they could necessarily feel confident that we really were looking at scientific literature,” Wood said. “Although this is not the only source of information on medical cannabis, it’s one of the very few.”

The continuing medical education courses on DCRx are free for D.C. prescribers and available for a fee for healthcare professionals across the U.S. Slides used in the courses are also open for the public to download.

Wood said other courses on various topics will be published on DCRx in the future.

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