Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Largely Support Medical Marijuana
95% of survey respondents support medical marijuana treatment for multiple sclerosis.
An overwhelming majority of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who participated in an online survey conducted by Genefos believe that medical marijuana should be an available treatment option for the condition, with many who already tried it.
New studies have shown that medical marijuana may help with symptoms of MS, such as muscle spasticity and pain.
Approximately 95% of respondents indicated that they support medical marijuana treatment for MS. Another 73% already explored using the drug, although a majority had not received information about the risks and benefits of medical cannabis.
Although nearly all patients reported they would try medical marijuana as a treatment option, 60% would only use the drug if recommended by their physician. However, 81% of those who would only try medical marijuana if their physician approved said they had not discussed it previously, according to the study.
Interestingly, 50% of patients knew few details about how medical marijuana may relieve MS symptoms, despite nearly 100% supporting its use. Only half of respondents also asked their physician for more information regarding the treatment.
These findings suggest that there may be a significant gap between patients’ desire to try medical marijuana, and their ability to educate themselves about the drug’s use and its effects.
When asked about why patients were not already being treated with medical marijuana, they said that they were mostly concerned about the legality of the drug, with knowledge being the second biggest concern.
Patients also indicated that other factors, such as stigma about marijuana use from family or friends, fear of addiction, or risks involved, did not affect their willingness to try the treatment, according to the study. In fact, social judgement was the least reported reason why patients were not taking the drug.
Patients also rarely indicated that fear of side effects, and fear of risks prevented them from receiving treatment with medical marijuana.
Of the participants, only 27.5% reported currently using medical marijuana, with 52.1% having experienced symptom alleviation.
Due to these findings, the researchers said that physicians should revise their protocols to ensure that patients have accurate information regarding medical marijuana to ensure that it is used properly.