Communication is important in every relationship, especially between doctors and patients. And a new survey suggests that the stigma that has long kept cannabis a dirty secret in the exam room may finally be disappearing.
The survey of 445 healthcare providers who treat chronic pain found that 72% of them have patients who requested or asked about medical cannabis in the last 30 days. Patients asked about cannabis far more often than other alternative pain treatments, such as acupuncture (37%), physical therapy (13%) and massage (10%).
The online survey was recently conducted by Cannaceutica, a healthcare company developing a line of cannabis products to treat pain. A variety of providers participated in the survey, including general practitioners, pain management specialists, neurologists, rheumatologists, and nurse practitioners.
People weren’t always so willing to talk to healthcare providers about cannabis, fearing they’d be seen as pot heads or even be dropped as patients. National surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019 found that less than 40% of patients told their doctors about their cannabis use.
More patients are talking about cannabis today, and more doctors are willing to listen. The vast majority of providers (81%) in the Cannaceutica survey believe cannabis will play a role in the future management of chronic pain, but only one in four are likely to recommend it now. The primary factors holding them back are legal and regulatory issues, and the lack of good quality cannabis research.