A new national survey found that physicians
are evenly divided on the issue of medical marijuana, Reuters reported
A survey conducted by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital in
Providence, R.I., found that of the 960 physicians questioned nationwide,
36 percent agreed that doctors should be able to legally prescribe
marijuana as medical therapy, while 38 percent disagreed and 26 percent
"We hypothesized that physicians would be more likely to support
medical marijuana use in states with legislative mandates," said lead
author Anthony Charuvastra. "However, we discovered that was not the
case. Instead, we found that specialty, residence in a state that had ever
approved medical marijuana research, and physicians' 'permissiveness' and
'non-moralism' attitudes were associated with supporting medical
For the study, researchers surveyed physicians in five specialty areas:
addiction medicine-psychiatry, general psychiatry, obstetrics-gynecology,
family practice, and internal medicine.
The results of the survey found that obstetricians-gynecologists and
internists were more likely to support medical marijuana than other
specialists surveyed. The researchers postulated that doctors in these two
specialty areas see more cancer patients and are more sensitive to
marijuana's potential to ease chemotherapy side-effects and pain.
On the other hand, physicians in the other specialty areas surveyed see
more active drug addicts and may be concerned about marijuana's negative
The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American
Society of Addiction Medicine, held recently in Los Angeles, Calif.