Concerns of Patients With Cancer on Accessing Cannabis Products in a State With Restrictive Medical Marijuana Laws: A Survey Study
Several states, particularly in the Southeast, have restrictive medical marijuana laws that permit qualified patients to use specific cannabis products. The majority of these states, however, do not provide avenues for accessing cannabis products such as in-state dispensaries.
We conducted a survey of patients registered for medical marijuana (low tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] oil cards) in an ambulatory palliative care practice in Georgia (one of the states with restrictive medical marijuana laws).
We had a total of 101 responses. Among our sample of patients who use cannabis as part of a state-approved low THC oil program, 56% were male and 64% were older than age 50 years. Advanced cancer was the most common reason (76%) for granting the patients access to a low THC oil card. Although patients reported cannabis products as being extremely helpful for reducing pain, they expressed considerable concerns about the legality issues (64%) and ability to obtain THC (68%). Several respondents were using unapproved formulations of cannabis products. For 48% of the patients, their physician was the source of information regarding marijuana-related products. Furthermore, they believed that their health care providers and family members were supportive of their use of cannabis(62% and 79%, respectively).
Patients on Georgia’s medical marijuana program are most concerned about the legality of the product and their ability to obtain marijuana-related products. Therefore, we recommend that states with medical marijuana laws should provide safe and reliable access to cannabis products for qualifying patients.
PMID: 31442099 DOI: 10.1200/JOP.19.00184