Cannabis in End-of-Life Care: Examining Attitudes and Practices of Palliative Care Providers
Medical cannabis research has become quite extensive, with indications ranging from glaucoma to chemotherapy-induced nausea. Despite increased interest in cannabis‘ potential medical uses, research barriers, cannabis legislation, stigma, and lack of dissemination of data contribute to low adoption for some medical populations. Of interest, cannabis use appears low in palliative care settings, with few guidelines available to palliative care providers. The present study sought to examine the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of palliative care providers regarding the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients. Palliative care providers (N = 426) completed a one-time online survey assessing these attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Results demonstrated that palliative care providers endorse cannabis for a wide range of palliative care symptoms, end-of-life care generally, and as an adjuvant medication. Nevertheless, the gap between these beliefs and actual recommendation or prescription appears vast. Many who support the use of cannabis in palliative care do not recommend it as a treatment. These data suggest recommendations for healthcare providers and palliative care organizations.