When people don't want to talk to their doctor about using cannabis, it's often because they fear being judged and lectured on their choices, and offered prescription medications instead. You know, medications that may have serious side effects such as spontaneous blindness, fatal stroke, or EPS (exploding penis syndrome). But a new study published in everyone's favorite beach-read, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reveals that cancer doctors may not have an actual aversion to recommending cannabis, but rather, may simply not know as much about it as they would like.
In the Denver Post's report on the study, it's revealed that all 29 states with medical cannabis programs allow doctors to recommend cannabis to cancer patients. But the lack of comprehensive research leaves many doctors making recommendations for cannabis based solely on comparison to existing prescription drugs. The study showed that the majority of the time, it's the patients who bring up cannabis as an option, and not the doctors themselves.
As a whole, around 8 in 10 cancer doctors reported they had discussed cannabis with their patients, with 46 percent recommending cannabis for pain and other cancer-related issues at least one patient. Still, of the cancer doctors that prescribed cannabis, a whopping 56 percent said they did not feel they had sufficient information about cannabis to do so. Some more figures: Of the 237 cancer doctors who responded to the survey, "67 percent of cancer doctors said they view marijuana as a useful addition to standard pain therapies, with 75 percent 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," per the Post.
Teaching doctors to know as much about weed as your friendly neighborhood budtender is an overlooked goal of the cannabis industry, but studies like this prove it's one that needs to be addressed.