85% Of U.S. Doctors Suspect Their Patients Abuse Opioids

Survey shows 77% list medical marijuana as least preferred alternative

MASSACHUSETTS:  The opioid epidemic causes more than 100 overdoses daily in America and fewer than 1 in 5 treating physicians approve of the government’s handling of the crisis. These findings are from a new survey of 501 physicians conducted by InCrowd and McLean Hospital.

“The doctors we surveyed showed incredible passion for this topic—they had significant insight into fixing it,” says Danielle Schroth, InCrowd’s Director of Crowd Development. “They’re frustrated that they can’t do enough for their patients’ wellbeing.”

“Part of what got us into this current crisis was physician behavior, well-meaning physician behaviors,” says Rocco Iannucci, MD, of McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. “The survey uncovered physicians’ pressures towards treating pain and addiction.”

The survey fielded by InCrowd, pioneer of real-time life science market intelligence, and McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programming, also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) disapprove of the federal government’s response
  • Forty-four percent called for stricter regulations to curb opioid abuse, while 18% wanted to discontinue opioid prescriptions all together
  • Ten percent wanted to end patient satisfaction surveys, which put pressure on physicians for positive patient ratings
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most preferred treatment alternative (68%), followed by lifestyle changes.

“There is limited education historically on treatment of pain,” says Dr. Iannucci. “So, doctors may only be familiar with a few things—perhaps Tylenol, ibuprofen, and then they move to opioids. More systematic education of medical students and residents in all specialties, and not just in pain specialization, is really important.”

What You Need To Know Before Talking To Your Doctor About Medical Marijuana

By Zack M

Despite marijuana’s legalization, cannabis continues to remain illegal on a federal level in most states.  However, the United States’ federal law has lifted the ban on the usage of medical cannabis, which has encouraged certain states to permit the consumption of medical marijuana.

It isn’t hard to understand why one would want to use medical marijuana as a means of treatment; medical cannabis has plenty of benefits that include the prevention and treatment of glaucoma, controlling epileptic seizures, decreasing anxiety, and inducing appetite.

But before you can go to the dispensary or enlist medical marijuana delivery services, you must see a doctor in order to obtain a medical marijuana card or a valid written verification. If you are interested in using marijuana for medical purposes, here are some things you need to know before consulting a doctor:

When to see a doctor

It’s important to consider the qualifying medical conditions that make you eligible for treatment specific to the state you live in. Every state has specific medical conditions and symptoms that must be confirmed by a doctor before you can be deemed a medical marijuana patient.The first step is to research your state’s list of approved illnesses and injuries that allow you to receive treatment. If you have any of the ailments listed or think you are showing symptoms of them, it’s a good time to consult a medical professional.

Finding a doctor

Firstly, asking your doctor about the health benefits of medical marijuana is completely legal. The 2002 case, Conant v. Walters ruled in favor of protecting the rights of patients and physicians to discuss medicinal cannabis for the purpose of therapy. Depending on where you live, most healthcare providers are eligible to write you a prescription, including, in some cases, your primary physician. Research which types of medical professionals in your state are qualified to prescribe medical marijuana.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean all doctors are willing to give you a prescription. You can opt to visit a medical marijuana clinic or a doctor that has the specific role of working with patients looking to receive treatment with cannabis.

What to expect at the doctor’s office

Be prepared so that your physician can make a proper assessment and diagnosis. Anticipate the doctor to ask you about your medical history, your current condition, and any current and previous medication. Remember to clearly identify your symptoms.

If you have already been diagnosed, let the doctor know if previous pharmaceutical treatment hasn’t helped. You may also wish to bring studies (scholarly journals or academic studies are the most useful) of cases in which medical marijuana has proved effective in treating your condition.

Questions to ask your physician

Being fully aware of your health gives you more confidence in your treatment and recovery. It’s therefore critical to raise any questions or hesitations you might have.  Some common, but nonetheless important inquiries are:

    • What are the health risks and side effects of medical marijuana?
    • Will medical marijuana interfere with my current medication?
    • What is the recommended dosage?
    • Which method of consumption is the best for me?
    • What activities should I avoid?
    • I have children and/or pets. Is second hand smoke harmful?
    • Should I seek treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Finally, remember to work with—not against—your doctor so you can achieve the best solution possible. Your physician is there to help and a neutral, medical opinion on your ailment is important to get the therapy you most need.



Illinois Patients To Docs: ‘What About Marijuana?’

ILLINOIS:  Illinois doctors, nursing homes, hospitals and hospice organizations are ramping up for their role as gatekeepers in the state’s new medical marijuana program.

Medical professionals find themselves at the center of a quickly changing legal landscape with minimal scientific research to back the claims of those extolling marijuana’s therapeutic benefits.

“It’s already an issue,” said Dr. Martha Twaddle of Barrington-based JourneyCare, which specializes in end-of-life care. “People are asking, ‘What about marijuana?'”

Illinois is among 23 states that have made medical marijuana legal. Illinois’ new law is on the restrictive side, with a limited list of qualifying health conditions. But one — spinal cord disease — could be broadly interpreted to cover any patient complaining of back pain.


More Doctors Than Consumers Favor Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Survey

The legalization of medical marijuana has more support among U.S. doctors than among consumers, a new survey found.

The survey of more than 1,500 doctors and nearly 3,000 consumers found that 69 percent of doctors said medical marijuana can help with certain conditions and treatments. Only 52 percent of consumers expressed that same belief.

Among doctors, 67 percent said they believed medical marijuana should be a treatment option for patients. Half of those doctors in states where medical marijuana isn’t legal said it should be legalized, as did 52 percent of doctors in states considering such laws.