Researchers at the University of Colorado have found that while the vast majority of cancer doctors view medical cannabis as a ‘beneficial’ treatment for cancer patients, they are still uncomfortable prescribing it due to a lack of education and training on cannabis.
The new survey, from the University of Colorado Cancer Centre, questioned 172 health professionals on their views on medical cannabis. 73% said they “believe hat medical marijuana provides benefits for cancer patients.”
However, 53% of respondents said they did not feel comfortable recommending cannabis to their patients, due to a lack of received education and resources for licensed medical cannabis products.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Ashley E. Glad, told the University of Colorado’s Colorado Cancer Blogs that a lack of available training for medical professionals is the most likely contributing factor:
“We asked and most providers didn’t train in a state where medical marijuana was legal.
“We need to adapt our healthcare education to include this, and also offer trainings on medical [cannabis] to current providers.”
Another potential contributing factor for doctor’s lack of confidence in prescribing medical cannabis is their concern about the legal and professional consequences of recommending cannabis, particularly those operating in states with limited or no medical cannabis programs.
Inconsistent dosing of cannabinoids also contributed to the doctor’s unease about recommending medical cannabis to their patients. Glode explained:
“The issue is it’s not regulated – a dispensary might say a product has this much THC and this much CBD, but no one is testing that for sure
“Then from a consumption perspective, inhalation and smoking is the least preferred due to possible damage to the lung.
“So many doctors recommend edibles, oils, and tinctures, but we still don’t have good data comparing dosage across these forms.”
Interestingly, 68% of the doctors claimed they learned more about medical cannabis from their own patients than they did from received training, medical journals or conferences; indicating a potentially serious failure in the education system producing America’s medical professionals.
The medical profession needs to keep in line with modern trends. As the body of evidence supporting the argument that cannabis should be offered as a first-response, rather than a last-resort, for cancer patients, so must the medical profession’s understanding of cannabis.