A survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) found male GPs and those with higher levels of addiction training are more likely to support a more liberal drug policy approach to cannabis for personal use.
Two in five male GPs support the legalisation of cannabis compared to 15% of female doctors.
A majority of GPs — four in five — support the view cannabis use has a significant effect on patients’ mental health and increases risk of schizophrenia (77.3%).
More than three in five agree that cannabis can have a role in palliative care, pain management, and treatment of multiple sclerosis.
The study, published in the Harm Reduction Journal, says “ongoing research into the health and other effects of drug policy changes on cannabis use is required”.
Dr Des Crowley of the ICGP said he hopes the study “will be considered within the ongoing debate on substance misuse in Ireland”.
“General practitioners see at first hand the impact of drug misuse, and like their international colleagues, believe that heavy use of cannabis in younger people can heighten the risk of dependence and mental health problems, including depression and schizophrenia.”