As medical marijuana becomes legal in more states, two key groups, researchers whose job is to understand the benefits and drawbacks of the drug, and physicians who are responsible for advising potential users, are having a hard time catching up with the law makers.
Medical Marijuana Survey:
A survey performed by Ilana Braun, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of the division of adult psychosocial oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, focused on cancer doctors around the country and it explored their attitudes, knowledge and actions on medical marijuana.
The survey was forwarded to 200 oncologists with a 63 percent rate of response. Braun outlined her findings and they were published last month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The following findings were uncovered:
- Eighty percent of oncologists hold discussions with patients about medical marijuana.
- Sixty-seven percent of oncologists believe it to be a useful adjunct to standard pain management.
- Sixty-eight percent of oncologists find it useful for poor appetite.
A significant percent of oncologist who recommended medical marijuana to their patients say they didn’t feel knowledgeable enough about it to recommend it confidently. However, the survey wasn’t designed to uncover why this may be the case, but it is a valid point which requires more exploration in the future.
What’s Known about Medical Marijuana for Pain, Nausea and Anxiety?
Randomized clinical trials of whole-plant medical marijuana haven’t been done with cancer patients, so oncologists will often rely on information obtained from clinical trials carried out on other diseases and from studies on pharmaceutical cannabinoids.
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive medical marijuana laws on the books, and the vast majority name cancer as a qualifying health condition. Very few other conditions exist in state laws, and yet viewpoints of oncologists on medical marijuana have not been explored.
With time, it is the hope of Braun and other medical professionals that more research will be done to explore whether medical marijuana would be an option for cancer sufferers and other people with serious health conditions which require relief of chronic pain, nausea and anxiety. (Sim Gershon top palm beach attorney sponsored this article)