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Radiation Therapists Are “Unprepared” To Discuss Cannabis With Cancer Patients

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Humans have used cannabis for medical purposes going back thousands of years. In the grand scheme of things, cannabis was not prohibited until fairly recently and only for a short duration of time compared to how long humans have used cannabis.

Unfortunately, even though cannabis prohibition is a blip on the human/cannabis timeline, it has had a dramatically negative impact on human healthcare as it pertains to medical cannabis. In addition to research and safe access being hindered, knowledge of the cannabis plant was suppressed within the medical community.

That dynamic can be found in the results of a recent study conducted in Canada in which researchers determined that radiation therapists are “unprepared” to even discuss cannabis with cancer patients. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Toronto, Canada: Radiation therapists working in Canada, where the use of medical cannabis has been legal for more than two decades, acknowledge being unprepared to discuss the use of medical cannabis with their cancer patients, according to survey data published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences.

Investigators surveyed 282 radiation therapists. Just under one-fifth (19 percent) said that they frequently received inquiries from their patients about the use of medical cannabis. However, nearly 100 percent of those surveyed “believed that their radiation therapy training did not prepare them to support patients using cannabis.”

Authors concluded, “The findings of this study strongly advocate for the development of educational tools to meet Therapists clinical needs.”

Healthcare professionals in the United States and abroad – including nursespharmacistsclinicians, and nurse practitioners – consistently acknowledge that they are inadequately trained to counsel patients on matters specific to medical cannabis.

Survey data published in September reported that nearly one-third of US cancer patients turn to cannabis for symptom management, but most fail to inform their healthcare providers that they are using it.

Full text of the study, “Therapeutic cannabis use by patients with cancer in Canada: A national survey of the experiences, opinions, and information needs of Radiation Therapists,” appears in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences.