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

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5 comments on “Survey: US cancer docs feel unprepared, but recommend medical cannabis anyway
  1. MFB on

    part of why it has been listed as a schedule 1 drug … because it can actually cure diseases rather than have people on expensive daily treatments. And it is less costly to produce and available to all.
    Much has already been written about the “negative bottom line effect” of curing diseases like the new Hep C drug/treatment. What’s good for the patient is bad for business. Hopefully we can change that dynamic!

  2. carl on

    first understand human brain endo-cannabinoid system, its use of CBD’s produced by our bodies, and,, CBD’s of cannabis sativa,, in various identified effects including cancer cell apoptosis [cancer cell death]..

    realities of specific interactions thru endo-cannabinoid system of our and cannabis CBD’s is not,, speculative,, or other than basic reality.. take 5 mins to read cannabidiol interactions specifically for anti-cancer properties and influences..

    today, calls for yet ‘more research’ demonstrate ignorance of basic cannabidiol realities, or corrupting external influences
    such as political and other related self interests..

    laypersons may understand these basic realities, without going into specifics of atomic or molecular structure etc..

  3. Sara J Hodges on

    As a “seasoned” registered nurse, [one who has been employed in health care for longer than I would like to admit], I have witnessed the many benefits that both marijuana and CBD Oil offer individuals of all ages. As a result, I decided to begin researching these pharmaceuticals and recalled a close friend’s need for relief.

    My 42 yr old neighbor was diagnosed with a rapidly growing malignant brain tumor which affected his ability to ingest food and liquids due to having increased nausea and vomiting. After he was prescribed marijuana before meals, he was once again able to join his family for quality time at the dinner table. Also, another notable benefit of using marijuana was that his need for narcotic use was lessened causing him to be more alert and able to interact with his family. As a result, the troublesome side effects of his narcotic coverage were decreased.

    The next example is with a NON-marijuana based oil derived from hemp, labelled CBD Oil.
    As a pediatric nurse I have witnessed children who suffer with seizure after seizure, and are usually prescribed a myriad of medications that carry many side effects.
    An astute pediatrician prescribed CBD Oil for the little patient I cared for…the effectiveness of such a small dose [once in the A.M.] was amazing…no side effects and ‘practically’ seizure-free for the two years I cared for her!

    Being a nurse, the years sure do take their toll on knee joints, the spine, etc. After trying all the over-the- counter analgesics on the block, and having cortisone injections in my knees, I decided to try researching CBD Oil to try myself.

    After I purchased it, (a 600 mg bottle), I squirted a dropper full under my tongue…it has an “earthy” taste, with no after-taste…within 25-30 minutes I noticed that my shoulder and back discomfort was beginning to noticeably subside. It was amazing! I had my daughter and her friend try it…again, great results.

    I must say that I was a skeptic at first. The companies that sell this product welcome calls and questions. Call them before you buy to clear up any questions that you may have.

  4. Dave Irani on

    Sad. Pathetic and sad that research isn’t where it should be cuz of “reefer madness” and the unwillingness to change policy.

  5. John on

    I’m a 5 year pancreatic cancer survivor; whipple, chemo, radiation and suffer chronic pain from a mountain biking accident fracturing 3 veterbra and dislocating a shoulder. That’s in addition to several surgeries from a very active lifestyle. Registered in NJ’s MMP, I’ve been using MM quite effectively to manage the side effects of cancer treatment and chronic pain. NOT ONCE has any of my doctors, including my oncologist asked me about my use in managing these issues. There’s a little to much arrogance in the medical field, they need to take the blinders off! Maybe if some rep from big pharma held a conference at some 5 star resort they’d make an effort to learn. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but there’s enough information that these highly educated individuals with their understanding of biology & chemistry should be making a better effort. Perhaps the opinion of someone who spent 30 years in municipal finance, a veteran and a very active volunteer who is managing some very difficult health challenges is not the perspective they seek.

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