Nearly half of oncologists believe medical marijuana can benefit elderly cancer patients, according to a new survey.
The oncologists responded to a survey about their beliefs on the effectiveness of medical marijuana and how likely they were to recommend it to their cancer patients. Of the 232 oncologists who took the survey, 47% felt that medical marijuana had at least some benefit for elderly cancer patients, while 28% said that medical marijuana is rarely or never useful. One quarter of the doctors had no idea whether it was beneficial or not.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggested that oncologists may need more education on the benefits of medical marijuana, especially for elderly patients.
Several studies have found that cannabis is safe and effective in older patients. In this Israeli study, 85% of 184 elderly patients with various symptoms including chronic pain and sleep problems showed improvements in their symptoms after six months of using medical marijuana. A second, much larger study, found that 94% of elderly patients saw improvements in pain and other symptoms after six months. Both studies found that medical marijuana was safe for elderly patients, and there is a rise in seniors who are using medical marijuana.