Several weeks ago, we asked SERMO physicians for their thoughts on marijuana, for both medical and recreational use. 68% of the 2,278 SERMO doctors polled were in favor of some form of legalized cannabis.
Out of the 68% of doctors who support cannabis legalization:
- 34 percent support legalization for both medical and recreational purposes
- 31 percent support legalization for medical purposes only
- 3 percent support legalization for recreational purposes only
A number of SERMO physicians have experience prescribing marijuana in clinical practice, treating conditions ranging from PTSD to seizures to cancer. While most physicians agreed that there is a role for marijuana within medicine, the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational proved much more contentious.
A few key arguements were brought up in the “pro” camp on SERMO:
- Several doctors compared the illegal status of cannabis with the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s. They maintain that continuing to police marijuana is a waste of government resources, as marijuana is arguably less dangerous than alcohol and relatively easy to acquire.
- Doctors who supported legalizing marijuana for recreational use said that not only would a fully legal, regulated product would be safer, but limiting marijuana legalization to medicinal use would be a significant time suck for physicians who would be the only access point to legal marijuana.
- The government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance drew some serious ire from Sermoans. Several physicians said they feel uncomfortable prescribing a drug whose properties have yet to be understood, while expressing frustration that the opportunities to uncover the medical potential of cannabis are limited by the Schedule I classification.
- Even with marijuana-derived oils and pills, accurate dosing is problematic and difficult to titrate. Supporters call for more precision when prescribing marijuana, and more consistency in the quality and content of marijuana and marijuana-based products within dispensaries.
Even with the majority supporting some kind of legalization, 32% are against it. The main concerns expressed lie in the lack of training and the unknown.
One Neurolgist challenged, “For everything else, we need evidence and guidelines. Why does this particular substance get a pass?”
Others echoed this feeling, like the Hospice and Palliative Medicine specialist who shared “So much talk about medical marijuana, yet nobody can tell me what exactly it’s supposed to be used for, the mechanism of action, the evidence it actually works and for what purpose.”
One of the strongest advocates against marijuana in the medical realm, a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician, stated, “The concept of making marijuana “medical” is nothing other than a farce, a step on the ladder to recreational legalization. Doctors are not trained in the use of [marijuana]. Medical school pharmacology did not include a chapter on the proper prescription or dosing of it. Therefore, it is ridiculous to ask us to be the ones determining who should get it. It should be purely a legal matter. Let the state determine who should be allowed to have it, then let them sign forms stating the quality. Leave us out of it.”