Cannabis has always been a controversial topic. Even as dozens of states passed medical cannabis regulations and more studies found that the plant had plenty of medical potential, the stigma around cannabis remained. Not only did this prevent important conversations surrounding topics such as the disproportionate effects of cannabis prohibition from happening early enough, but it also kept patients from talking about cannabis with their doctors, even if they stood to benefit a great deal from marijuana-based treatment. However, results from a new survey indicate that this may be changing.
Healthcare company Cannaceutica conducted a survey of 445 healthcare providers and asked them whether their patients had talked to them about cannabis or requested medical marijuana treatments in the past 30 days. More than 70% said their patients had made inquiries about cannabis treatments in the past month, with the patients asking about cannabis far more often compared to other alternative pain treatments such as physical therapy, massage and acupuncture. The healthcare providers who took part in the online survey included general practitioners, nurse practitioners, rheumatologists, pain-management specialists and neurologists.
The results of the survey reveal a drastic shift in how people view cannabis. Traditionally, patients who could benefit from cannabis treatments have refrained from asking their doctors about medical marijuana for fear of being seen as potheads or being dropped by their doctors. Similarly, health practitioners weren’t comfortable discussing cannabis with their patients as it is still federally prohibited and hasn’t been sufficiently studied and researched. In fact, national polls from 2018 and 2019 revealed that less than 40% of patients discussed cannabis use with their doctors.
Fortunately, today more patients are willing to raise the option of medical cannabis treatments with their healthcare providers. According to Cannaceutica’s survey, 81% of healthcare providers believe cannabis will play a role in chronic pain management in the future. Still, only one person in four healthcare practitioners would recommend medical marijuana to their patients currently, mostly due to the scarcity of reliable cannabis research as well as the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the plant. With several lawmakers working to pass legislation that would federally decriminalize cannabis, there is a chance the federal government could legalize cannabis in the near future.
If that happens, 74% of the survey participants said they would endorse a medical cannabis treatment plan. They would also be more comfortable recommending medical marijuana if there was more scientific research and documentation about the benefits and risks of using cannabis as a chronic pain treatment. At the moment, 64% said they obtained most of the cannabis information they knew from their patients, 44% from the internet and 40% from medical journals.
Now that patients are talking to their doctors about medical cannabis, it may not be long before cutting-edge enabling technology such as the smart inhalers manufactured RYAH Group Inc. (CSE: RYAH) become commonplace among patients who are collaborating with their doctors on matters of managing various health conditions.
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