NEWS BRIEF

Survey: US cancer docs feel unprepared, but recommend medical cannabis anyway

Nearly half of U.S. cancer doctors who responded to a survey say they’ve recently recommended medical marijuana to patients, although most say they don’t know enough about medicinal use.

The results reflect how marijuana policy in some states has outpaced research, the study authors said.

All 30 states with MMJ programs allow doctors to recommend it to cancer patients.

But no rigorous studies in cancer patients exist. That leaves doctors to make assumptions from other research on similar prescription drugs, or in other types of patients.

“The big takeaway is we need more research, plain and simple,” said Dr. Ilana Braun of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who led the study published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Overall, nearly eight in 10 cancer doctors reported having discussed marijuana with patients or their families, with 46% recommending it for pain and other cancer-related problems to at least one patient in the past year.

Among those who said they recommended marijuana, 56% said they did not have sufficient knowledge to do so.

The survey was conducted in a random sample of cancer doctors; researchers got completed surveys from 237 doctors, or 63%.

In the study, 67% of cancer doctors said they view marijuana as a useful addition to standard pain therapies, with 75% saying it posed less risk of overdose than opioids. About half view marijuana as equal to, or more effective than, standard treatments for cancer-related nausea.

– Associated Press

Latest Headlines