Patients: With Marijuana, Less Likely To Pop Pills
By David Royse | LedeTree.com
Most patients in a recent survey of orthopedic outpatients considered marijuana useful for treating their pain, according to a study published this week in the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma.
Nearly eight out of 10 patients said they felt marijuana could be used to treat pain, and of those that used it during their recovery, 90 percent said it reduced their pain.
Another key piece of data from the survey indicates marijuana might help reduce the opioid addiction crisis in the United States: Eight out of ten patients surveyed said they believed using marijuana reduced their opioid pain medication use.
“The majority of patients in this study believed that medical marijuana is a valid treatment and that it does have a role in reducing post-injury and post-operative pain. Those patients who used marijuana during their recovery felt that it alleviated symptoms of pain and reduced their opioid intake. Our results help inform clinicians regarding the perceptions of trauma patients regarding the usefulness of marijuana in treating pain, and support further study into the utility of medical marijuana in this population.”
The survey involved 500 patients in an orthopedic outpatient clinic affiliated with two different Level 1 academic trauma center hospitals in Massachusetts. Marilyn Heng, MD, was the lead author on the study.
Heng is affiliated with Harvard. Harvard’s medical school points out, however, that medical researchers aren’t unanimously sure how – or even if – cannabis works for medical purposes. The medical school notes, however, that it’s difficult to study marijuana use, and that 80 trials involving nearly 6,500 people have suggested that marijuana use may have an association with relief of some symptoms, but findings have been inconsistent.
Doctors, However, Unprepared to Prescribe Cannabis
New doctors aren’t really prepared to prescribe medical marijuana, despite it being legal in some respect in nearly 30 states, a new study shows. The survey, published in the journal, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that most med school officials, residents and fellows don’t believe new graduates know enough about medical marijuana to prescribe its use.
“While medical marijuana use is legal in more than half of U.S. states, evidence is limited about the preparation of physicians-in-training to prescribe medical marijuana,” the study authors wrote.
Our study highlights a fundamental mismatch between the state-level legalization of medical marijuana and the lack of preparation of physicians-in-training to prescribe it. With even more states on the cusp of legalizing medical marijuana, physician training should adapt to encompass this new reality of medical practice.
The surveyors, from Washington University in St. Louis, queried 101 curriculum deans, and 258 residents and fellows and included 145 schools in their curriculum search. Nearly 67 percent of deans said graduates were “not at all prepared” to prescribe medical marijuana, and 25 percent said graduates weren’t even prepared to answer questions about medical marijuana.
“The vast majority of residents and fellows (89.5%) felt not at all prepared to prescribe medical marijuana, while 35.3% felt not at all prepared to answer questions, and 84.9% reported receiving no education in medical school or residency on medical marijuana,” the survey found.
It also found that fewer than 10 percent of medical schools appear to have curriculum content on medical marijuana.
The study’s first author, third-year medical student Anastasia B. Evanoff, said the findings were worrying.
“We need to know how to answer questions about medical marijuana’s risks and benefits,” Evanoff said in a story on the Wash U medical school website. “But there is a fundamental mismatch between state laws involving marijuana and the education physicians-in-training receive at medical schools throughout the country.”
More Cannabis News
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: D.C. Council member wants capital residents to have access to medical pot without doc approval
Medical marijuana is a viable alternative to the prescription of opioid painkillers, which can set people down the path to addiction.
— David Grosso (@cmdgrosso) September 19, 2017