Medical Marijuana Provokes Different Opinions in Healthcare Workers

A recent survey has found that a majority of healthcare workers have no problem if children afflicted with cancer want medical marijuana. They opined that if required, the professionals would help the patients to get some. The survey took into account a total of 288 doctors, registered nurses, and social workers. All respondents in the survey were based in three US cities- Seattle, Boston, and Chicago. All participants provide either outpatient care or inpatient care to children afflicted with cancer.

Grant and decline rates

Approximately 92 percent of total respondents said that they would willingly help to get medical marijuana, if needed for the young patients. Only two percent opposed the narcotic substance. They said that if any child patient asks for marijuana, such a request would be declined.

The survey also threw up the nugget that 63 percent of healthcare providers do not care about substance abuse in children suffering from cancer. In such cases, the pressing concern was the absence of any formulation, potency standards, and dosing for the prescribed medical marijuana for children suffering from cancer. The study revealed that medical providers legally eligible to certify the use of medical marijuana will be much less probable to endorse its utilization in cancer-afflicted children.

Reason and impetus for marijuana treatment

Dr. Kelly Michelson of Chicago's Lurie Children's Hospital said via a hospital news release that this is not surprising. The critical care physician said that providers saddled with responsibility for certifying patients to give medical marijuana tend to be overly cautious about its recommendation. This is as their license could be revoked due to prohibition at the federal level.

Dr. Michelson added that the reluctance to offer marijuana can also be linked to institutional policies. She offered an example; she pointed out that Lurie hospital itself prohibits the pediatric providers from facilitating the access to medical marijuana as per the federal law. This is valid even if this substance is completely legal in Illinois. She cites unclear dosage guidelines and the absence of good quality scientific data- all of which makes for huge concern to providers who cannot discern between the benefits of medical marijuana and any possible harm. These organizations are only warm towards an evidence-based practice. Michelson said that there is a need for rigorous clinical trials on medical marijuana use in children afflicted with cancer. Most medical marijuana providers believe that the usage of medical marijuana must be restricted to children suffering from advanced cancer or near to end of life.

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