Plenties of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

Lots of Doctors Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

If you go to a doctor and ask them to recommend you medical marijuana, don’t is looking forward to to fully understand how the medication works, both for you as an individual patient and in general as a therapy. Because no one actually does.

With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, cannabis is shedding its stigma and entering the mainstream. That entails folks who’ve shied away from the stuff are getting better access, and exploring cannabis as a non-addictive treatment for ailments like ache. But that new interest is go smack dab into a great problem plaguing medical cannabis: The research on what marijuana can actually treat, what components of the plant matter, and how different patients respond to them, is severely lacking.

Just how much physicians are struggling with it becomes clear today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. A study reveals that half of surveyed oncologists “says hes” recommended marijuana to patients in the last year. But half of those didn’t think they actually had sufficient knowledge to stimulate those recommendations.

The biggest question for oncologists is what cancer symptoms cannabis can really treat. The survey discovered respondents divide when it comes to the treatment of ache: A third of oncologists said cannabis is equally or more effective than standard ache treatments, a third said it was less effective, and a third didn’t know. “But there seemed to be clear consensus that medical marijuana is a good adjunct to standard ache treatment, so a good add-on medication, ” says Ilana Braun, lead author and chief of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Division of Adult Psychosocial Oncology. In fact, two-thirds of respondents said it’d be a good supplemental treatment.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine–which last year published a massive, big-deal its consideration of cannabis research–“there is substantial proof that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic ache in adults.” It’s also been shown to help control nausea and vomiting.

Now, doctors have long prescribed a synthetic THC called dronabinol, aka marinol, for the treatment of nausea and weight loss. Problem is, side effects include paranoia and “thinking abnormal.” Beyond that, you wouldn’t want to try to get high on it because it’s missing the galaxy of other active compounds in cannabis. “If it worked–it rarely does work–but if it actually did work it would be abused on the street, ” says physician Allan Frankel, a pioneer in medical cannabis. “For 15 pennies a pill? That’s how bad marinol is.”

The reason, Frankel says, is the so-called entourage effect, the interaction of dozens of other cannabinoids in marijuana like CBD( which is an extremely effective treatment for seizures, by the style) that may create different therapeutic impacts. So by that logic, with marinol, patients aren’t get the full effect of the cannabis plant.

And that full effect “wouldve been”? Well , nobody genuinely knows–in part because the US government makes the stuff very, very difficult to study. In the eyes of the feds, it’s still a very illegal schedule I drug, the most tightly controlled category, and the DEA decides “whos got” crop to research. Researchers don’t have access to a variety of strains that might produce a variety of benefits, devoted different levels of CBD and THC and other compounds.

Even if you could study lots of different stress, it’s not always possible to tell what a patient is going to get at the dispensary. Flowers can be mislabeled, and the THC content of oils doesn’t always match what’s on the label. “Composition standardization is a giant mess, ” says Jeff Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a laboratory that tests cannabis. “So for an ultra traditional physician, I can understand where they’re like, Man, we don’t really know what that is, is that OK? It’s not standardized like a pharmaceutical product.”

A doctor can’t just say, Take two marijuana pills and call me in the morning. And on a physiological level, we all manage cannabis differently. “Even if I tell everybody, go inhale a one-tenth of a gram, their inhalation depths and absorption rates are going to be different, ” says Raber.

“Unfortunately, we are going a little bit blind, ” says physician Bonni Goldstein, medical director of the Canna-Centers, which provides cannabis consultations for patients. “But what I’m detecting in clinical experience is I learn from every patient, and so we try to use the scientific research that we do have.”

So doctors like Goldstein try to tailor cannabis as best they can for a patient’s wants. Her patients have the luxury of attentive, personalized cannabis consultations. “Someone retired who has cancer who doesn’t have to get up in the morning and get somewhere shall be permitted take bigger dosages during the day, ” says Goldstein, “versus a mama of four who has kids in and out of activities, who has breast cancer.”

But your typical oncologist isn’t going to sit down with a patient for an hour to walk through their lifestyle and wants. So patients are left to experiment with dosages on their own, or consult with their local dispensary.

Because it turns out that dispensaries have some experience dosing cannabis. “Some of the top dispensaries that have been doing this for a while know this better than anybody else, ” says Rob Adelson, chairman and CEO of Resolve Digital Health, which makes a smart inhaler for medical marijuana patients. “There’s still so much about the pharmacokinetics of this plant that we just don’t know yet. So asking a doctor to come in to try to solve the problem without any more data than the dispensary has is hard.”

What Adelson sees cannabis promoting is a new paradigm of medical care. “We’ve heard this from many physicians, that they might not know about medical cannabis, might not want to promote it, and that a patient be coming back and says,’ I’d like to try it, ’” he says. “And patients bringing studies with them.” That inversion of responsibility has its downsides: An elderly patient might not be aware of side effects like dizziness, for example. But at the same time, it’s impossible to overdose. For better or worse, if doctors don’t feel they have the knowledge to appropriately prescribe a drug, patients will fill that void.

More cannabis science

Another big unknown with cannabis is the issue of safety. Namely, the stuff that’s grown in the wilds of California can be very, very dirty.

Take a deeper dive into why it’s so hard to properly dose marijuanas.

Again, please never drive stoned, ever, even if it’s currently impossible to determine just how intoxicated you are.

Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It
Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It
Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It
Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It
Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

Plenties Of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

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