We recently came across this data from a local news report in Massachusetts, and were so frustrated about the whole situation that we had to write about it.
By now, it is more or less common knowledge that marijuana is an effective form of therapy for cancer patients that are undergoing the rigors of chemotherapy. In Washington state, for example, a recent study showed that roughly 25% of all cancer patients incorporate some form of cannabis into their treatment regimen.
Moreover, cancer is included as a “qualifying condition” in all 29 states that have a medical marijuana program – and doctors are not afraid to recommend it.
According to an article by CBS News, for instance, roughly 50% of U.S. oncologists who took part in a survey claimed they’d recently recommended medical cannabis to their cancer patients. Additionally, nearly 80% of them reported to have had conversations about cannabis either directly with patients, or with the family of patients.
This may sound like a good thing – and indeed it is – but the reality is that even though doctors are quick to recommend marijuana as a treatment option, the majority of them say they do not know enough about the plant’s clinical applications (including which strains to use) to be able to provide adequate information on things like dosing, administration techniques, etc. For example, of the doctors who said they’d recently recommended marijuana to cancer patients, 56% of them admitted to “not having sufficient knowledge to do so.”
“[The doctors] are not as close-minded as you might think,” said one patient, “[but] they also feel they have a lot to learn.”
With this in mind, most cancer patients – even those living in states with good MMJ programs – are left to their own devices when it comes to treating their condition with marijuana. This is a sad fact to consider, as many of these patients are in desperate need of quality information.
Data from a recent survey in Washington, for example, found that 75% of patients wanted information on medical marijuana from their cancer care providers, but weren’t able to receive it.
Also, according to the same survey, fewer than 15% of these patients received information about medical marijuana from their primary care doctor, or their oncologist. (And what’s equally astonishing is that according to a poll on Leafly, 92% of cancer patients claim they would like to receive information on medical cannabis).
Of course, this is hardly the doctors fault, as they simply do not have adequate clinical data at their disposal to be able to deliver the marijuana-related information that so many of their patients desire.
Dr. Ilana Braun of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, for example, makes it clear as day: “the big takeaway is we need more research — plain and simple.”
So what are these cancer patients that want reliable, quality information to do in terms of learning about marijuana treatment options and finding a physician they can speak with?
Fortunately, as time goes on and marijuana-related legislation improves, more doctors are becoming “cannabis specialists,” and are dedicating their careers to treating with the all-natural herb.
However, while it’s getting easier to find one these “cannabis doctors” (especially if you live in a decent sized city in a medically legal state), it’s by no means to the point where it should be.
We have put together a few links and resources that hopefully may be able to help you out in terms of dosing, learning about various strains, etc (or even potentially connecting you with an MMJ doctor), but again – the situation still demands nationwide improvement if we are to incorporate marijuana as a cancer treatment option to its fullest effect.
Cancer and Marijuana Related Resources
It’s been estimated that 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, of which 7.6 million end up dying from the disease. What’s potentially more devastating, however, is the fact that 30 – 40% of these deaths may be able to be prevented, and up to 33% can potentially be cured simply by initiating treatment with an early diagnosis.
If you or a loved one is currently suffering from cancer, please share this article, as well as its resources. It may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it just might present the chance to help someone in need, or at least point them in the right direction of how they can go about getting the information they desire.
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If you are currently suffering from cancer or another qualifying medical condition and need an MMJ card, then join us here at MarijuanaBreak – we offer quick, straightforward, easy-to-read guides for most states on how to get a Medical Marijuana Card, in addition to suggesting the most secure and convenient way to schedule an evaluation.