Wednesday, 22 January, 2020


Many Oncologists Discuss, Recommend Medical Marijuana

Marijuana plants a few weeks away from harvest Many Oncologists Discuss, Recommend Medical Marijuana
Patty Aguilar | 11 May, 2018, 21:00

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.

In the article, researchers call for clinical trials to address these gaps in knowledge regarding medical marijuana use.

'Whatever they want to do to make themselves comfortable, ' said Pergam, who wasn't involved in the new research.

Results of a survey published May 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that 80 percent of medical oncologists have discussed using medical marijuana with cancer patients, and 46 percent said they recommended it clinically. A better understanding of the logistics surrounding medical marijuana also is needed. Oncologists in states that have not legalized medical marijuana need education about the therapeutic alternatives that might be available, he added.

The use of medical cannabis is legal in 30 states including the District of Columbia, and cancer is a qualifying condition for its use except for one state. According to the authors, this is the first nationally-representative survey to examine oncologists' practices and beliefs on the subject since the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. On the other hand, "therapeutic marijuana" refers to nonpharmaceutical cannabis products used with "medicinal intent", regardless of compliance with the law. "Our study suggests that there is clearly room for improvement when it comes to medical marijuana".

The report found conclusive evidence that oral medications containing THC, the intoxicating chemical in pot, can reduce the impact of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Recent clinical practice guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recognize knowledge gaps about medical marijuana use in oncology. Observational studies showed that medical marijuana legalization is associated with reductions in opioid-related hospitalizations, but no randomized trials have compared the two strategies for pain relief. "While this topic is common, however, data on medical marijuana use is less so". Braun and colleagues sought to obtain contemporary information about oncologists' views and knowledge about clinical use of medical marijuana.

Researchers mailed a survey to 400 practicing oncologists in the US, randomly selected from a national database of board-certified medical oncologists. The survey included questions about clinical discussions of marijuana, views on comparative efficacy versus other therapies, risks of medical marijuana versus other therapies, and items to allow comparisons of respondent characteristics and their answers.

The study also found that patients mostly are the one to initiate discussions about medical marijuana. Dr. The guidelines note insufficient evidence to recommend medical marijuana for initial management of chronic pain in cancer survivors, although evidence suggests it is worthy of consideration as an adjuvant analgesic and for managing pain conditions that are hard to treat.Evidence also remains insufficient to recommend medical marijuana for the prevention of nausea and vomiting in patients with cancer who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Yet two-thirds of oncologists surveyed believe that medical cannabis is an effective complement to standard pain management.

The proportion of oncologists who responded "I don't know" regarding medical marijuana's effectiveness varied by indication, from 27.6% for poor appetite/cachexia to 45.1% for poor sleep.

"While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease", their website stated, cautioning that marijuana should not be relied upon as a replacement for conventional medical treatment.

Braun reported having no relevant relationships with industry.

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