In the United States, 80% of oncologists say they have already discussed medical cannabis with their patients but less than 30% feel they are sufficiently informed in this regard. On the other hand, almost half of oncologists recommend the use of medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes to their patients without being sufficiently informed on the subject, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Only 30% of the US oncologists are informed regarding medical cannabis
This is the first US national survey on the subject since the use of medical cannabis was authorized in the United States.
Accordingly, 80% of the surveyed oncologists admitted they had already discussed the issue of medical marijuana with their patients and only 30% of them stated they are informed sufficiently on this matter.
Even though the therapeutic use of cannabis is legal in more than half of the American states, “the scientific evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana in oncology is still very weak, which puts doctors in a very uncomfortable position,” said Dr. Ilana Braun of the Dana-Farber Institute of Adult Psychosocial Oncology.
Medical marijuana has never been subjected to clinical trials directly related to cancer
To date, no randomized clinical trials have examined the effects of medical marijuana on cancer patients, so oncologists rely solely on research on the medical use of cannabis in the treatment of diseases other than cancer.
Yet two-thirds of oncologists surveyed believe that medical cannabis is an effective complement to standard pain management. For them, therapeutic cannabis is just as effective as the conventional medication against the side effects of chemotherapy such as pains, nausea or lack of appetite.
A study published in The European Journal of Internal Medicine has shown that cannabis is effective in treating pain in the elderly people after surveying about 900 patients over 65 years of age who suffered from pain related to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, or Crohn’s disease.
According to the European study, after 6 months of medical marijuana usage, over 93% of the subjects reported that their pain had decreased. More than 70% of the patients also presented an overall improvement in their condition, after medical cannabis therapy.