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Survey Shows Majority Of Doctors Support Legalization Of Medical Marijuana

medscape

NEW YORK, NY — According to a new survey released Wednesday by WebMD and Medscape, a majority of doctors believe that the legalization of medical marijuana is needed since it can provide therapeutic relief for patients in need.

It has been tough to prove the solid data on cannabis’ health benefits, due to the federal government’s hesitance to approve research due to cannabis being a Schedule I substance. By definition, this classification means that the plant has no medicinal value, but the survey suggests that doctors believe otherwise.

WebMD Survey Shows Doctors Support Medicinal Marijuana

WebMD surveyed a total of 1,544 doctors who were from 48 states in the country and included doctors from over 12 specialties. According to the responses from the doctors, 69% claimed that medical marijuana can help with certain treatments and conditions. Further, 67% of the doctors supported making medical marijuana a viable option for patients.

“The medical community is clearly saying they support using marijuana as a potential treatment option for any number of medical problems.” – Michael W. Smith, MD

Digging deeper in the WebMD survey, we find that 56% of the doctors supported making medical marijuana legal nationwide.

50% of the participating doctors in states where medical marijuana is not legal believe it should be legal in their states, and 52% of the doctors surveyed that had new laws being considered in their states believe it should be legal in their states.

“The medical community is clearly saying they support using marijuana as a potential treatment option for any number of medical problems,” said Michael W. Smith, MD, WebMD’s Chief Medical Editor. “In fact, many doctors already prescribe it. But health professionals are still unclear as to what the long-term effects may be. The findings would indicate a strong desire to have the DEA ease the restrictions on research so that additional studies can be done to conclusively show where medical marijuana can help and where it might not.”

Doctors’ Responses Vary According To Their Specialty

The survey conducted by WebMD suggests that the support of medical marijuana varies by area of expertise. Oncologists (specialize in treating those with cancer) and hematologists (specialize in blood health and disease) shared the highest level of support with 82% claiming medical marijuana provides real benefits for patients.

In contrast, rheumatologists (specialize with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases) showed the least support overall (54%). With that said, studies suggest that cannabis can provide relief from arthritis pain and inflammation.

More statistics gathered from the survey showed that neurologists (specialize in disorders of the nervous system) had the highest percentage of patients (70%) that asked if medical marijuana might help them. Hematologists and oncologists had the second highest amount of inquiries from patients in regards to medical marijuana, while ophthalmologists (specialize in the diseases of the eye) came in third.

WebMD’s study proves the increase of doctors who are starting to support the legalization of medical marijuana – or at least are acknowledging the beneficial use of it for those with serious illnesses. With more than 10 states currently considering medical marijuana bills, there may be even more doctors becoming aware of the therapeutic use that medical marijuana can bring for patients with a variety of ailments in the near future.

Here’s a final look/breakdown at the survey numbers for doctors asked about medical marijuana:

  • 69% say it can help with certain treatments and conditions.
  • 67% say it should be a medical option for patients.
  • 56% support making it legal nationwide.
  • 50% of doctors in states where it is not legal say it should be legal in their states.
  • 52% of doctors in states considering new laws say it should be legal in their states.

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