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The Vast Majority of Doctors Believe In Marijuana Legalization

April 2, 2014 — A majority of doctors say that medical marijuana should be legalized nationally and that it can deliver real benefits to patients, a new survey by WebMD/Medscape finds. WebMD’s website for health professionals surveyed 1,544 doctors as more than 10 states consider bills to legalize medical marijuana. It is already legal in 21 states and Washington, DC. The survey found solid support for those legalization efforts, with most doctors saying medical marijuana should be legal in their states. They agreed that medical marijuana should be an option for patients. The survey included doctors from more than 12 specialties and 48 states. Marijuana’s Perceived Health Benefits Solid data on marijuana’s health benefits are lacking. Research has been limited because the federal government has designated marijuana as a “Schedule I” substance, a designation used for the most dangerous drugs having “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.” But as state after state legalizes marijuana, doctors have gained nearly 2 decades of anecdotal evidence about its effects. Dramatic stories about families moving to Colorado for a special strain of marijuana to treat their children’s seizure disorders have led to stronger calls for research. Neurologists reported the highest number of patients asking if medical marijuana might help them (70%). Marijuana may help with multiple sclerosis and severe seizure disorders. Oncologists and hematologists had the second-highest level of patient inquiries with ophthalmologists coming in third. Medical marijuana can help relieve eye pressure with glaucoma but doesn’t work as well as other medications. “One of the most documented uses of medical marijuana is in the treatment of pain. Medical marijuana may be a better painkiller than narcotic painkillers, like oxycodone, with less potential for addiction,” says Smith. “More research will help us better understand how best to use medical marijuana in the treatment of many conditions that cause chronic pain.”


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