Survey: Most Oncology Trainees Say They’re “Insufficiently Informed” About Cannabis

Boston, MA: The majority of oncologists in training acknowledge knowing little about the use of cannabis in cancer care treatment, according to national survey data published in the journal JCO Oncology Practice.

A team of researchers affiliated with Harvard Medical School surveyed 462 oncology trainees from 25 states. Consistent with prior surveys of health professionals, most respondents (76 percent) said that they had received no “formal training regarding medical cannabis.” Most respondents also said that they “considered themselves insufficiently informed to make cannabis-related medical recommendations.” 

Cancer is a qualifying condition in every state where medical cannabis access is provided, and the use of synthetic THC has been FDA-approved as an anti-nausea agent and as an appetite stimulant for cancer patients for several decades. 

Survey data finds that an estimated one-in-eight cancer patients consume cannabis for symptom management and that nearly ten percent of cancer survivors identify as current marijuana users. 

Full text of the study, “Oncology fellows’ clinical discussions, perceived knowledge, and formal training regarding medical cannabis use: A national survey study,” appears in JCO Oncology Practice. Additional information is available from the NORML fact sheet, ‘Health Clinicians’ Attitudes Toward Cannabis.’