Minnesota physicians are hesitant to accept medical cannabis as an option for treatment, according to a released study.
The survey, released by Minnesota’s Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research (TFMCTR), surveyed the thoughts of 262 state-licensed doctors from four in-state facilities on the utility of medical cannabis.
The survey was conducted by TFMCTR member and Hennepin County Medical Center addiction specialist Dr. Charles Reznikoff. Reznikoff reported a number of reasons to explain Minnesota doctors’ ambivalence towards the newly legal treatment method, including the need for clearer qualifying conditions and the ongoing abuse by many people of opioids. “There is a lot of worry about the opioid thing,” Reznikoff stated.
Another reason why doctors have yet to come around to medical cannabis, according to the survey, is that many have not been given adequate education in the effects of the plant and the cannabinoid concentrates. As a result, many physicians have no particular interest in serving as advocates for the use of cannabis to treat medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer and Alzheimers disease.
“There is no ethical obligation for a provider to, on their own, adopt this,”
said Reznikoff. “This isn’t aspirin for heart attacks.”
The concern expressed by Reznikoff relating opioid addiction to medicinal cannabis contradicts studies which reveal that the use of medical cannabis may actually reduce opioid overdose related deaths by up to 25 percent, and that the combined use of the plant and pharmaceuticals does not increase the risk of substance abuse. Because cannabis remains a classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (defined as having no medicinal use in the United States), researchers have limited access to the plant for studies and many people, including physicians, remain uneducated and confused about its use despite the many published studies and anecdotical evidence.