Survey found that nearly 70 percent of doctors believe cannabis has therapeutic value
The vast majority of US doctors believe cannabis has medicinal value, according to a new poll released last month.
Findings, published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, showed that nearly 70 percent of clinicians surveyed “believe that cannabis is used medicinally,” while just over 26 percent said they recommended marijuana to patients.
“Clinicians who believed cannabis had medicinal uses were 5.9 times more likely (95% confidence interval 3.9–8.9) to recommend cannabis to patients,” wrote the researchers participating in the survey. “Belief in the conditions for medicinal cannabis use did not necessarily coincide with current scientific knowledge. Almost two-thirds (60.0%) of the clinicians surveyed incorrectly stated the legal status of cannabis in their state. “
In conclusion, they added, “The results suggest that while clinicians believe that cannabis is used for medicinal purposes, they may not have a thorough understanding of the scientific evidence and their government guidelines for the legalization and use of cannabis may not be do not understand exactly. Given that doctors are responsible for recommending medicinal cannabis in most states that have legalized it, ongoing education about the health effects of cannabis is needed. “
The results of the survey are meaningful, but probably not that surprising. Medical cannabis has been legalized in more than 30 states across America, backed by the prevailing belief in its medicinal value among professionals.
The survey is based on data from “1506 general practitioners, internists, nurses and oncologists who responded to DocStyles 2018, a web-based panel survey among clinicians.”
Questions were asked to evaluate the medical uses and practices related to cannabis and to evaluate doctors’ knowledge of the legality of cannabis in their state. Logistic regression was used to assess multivariate correlates between questions, ratings and recommendations of cannabis, ”the researchers explained the methodology.
The authors said their research was among the “first studies to evaluate doctors’ beliefs and practices regarding medical cannabis in a US sample from multiple states.”
“The results of this study suggest that the highest prevalence conditions for which doctors said cannabis could be used medicinally are scientifically founded – pain, nausea, appetite stimulation, anti-seizure and spasticity,” they wrote.
Clinicians Believe Cannabis Is Beneficial … Hence, politicians shouldn’t prevent access
NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano cited the poll as a reason why politicians and governments shouldn’t hinder patient access to medical cannabis.
“The vast majority of patients and their providers recognize that cannabis is a legitimate medicine. Politicians should not stand in the way by opposing efforts to allow medical professionals to recommend cannabis to their patients if they deem it therapeutically appropriate, “Armentano said in a statement.
Survey results that clinicians believe cannabis has medicinal value are also in line with public opinion. Surveys routinely show that majorities not only support medical cannabis, but also legalize the use of recreational pots.
Medical cannabis is also increasingly viewed as a safer alternative to stronger prescription drugs. A survey published last month found that 61 percent of medical cannabis patients in Texas used pot as a substitute for prescription drugs.
The survey was conducted by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
“With the passage of the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, the state of Texas officially recognized that cannabis is medicine,” the survey authors said. “However, the vast majority of Texas patients are barred from participating in the Compassionate Use Program (CUP) due to legal restrictions. Our recent survey of 2,866 Texas residents who use medicinal cannabis aimed to gain insight into the needs and experiences of that population. The survey was conducted online between August 11, 2020 and October 6, 2020 and participants were recruited through medical cannabis patient networks. 22 percent of those surveyed were military veterans. “