Majority of Americans would try medical cannabis with one caveat
The majority of Americans live in a state where some form of cannabis is legal. And while many are using the plant to reach their wellness goals, there’s a large gap between the healthcare and cannabis industries.
According to new research, 65 percent of American adults would be apt to use medical marijuana if it were screened and dosed by a doctor. The current landscape is a piecemeal approach, with most people relying on dispensary staff and anecdotal advice for information on medical cannabis.
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The findings were the result of a survey conducted by EO Care, a Boston-based company offering cannabis-based health and wellness services that are clinician-led—the firm targets employers who wish to provide medical cannabis guidance as an employee benefit.
There were a total of 1,027 respondents to the survey. To qualify, participants had to live in a state where cannabis was legal for medical and/or adult use and employed at least part-time. Of those surveyed, 19 percent said they had consumed cannabis for health reasons in the last year. Eighteen percent indicated they used the plant recreationally, and 14 percent did both. The majority of medical cannabis consumers turned to the plant to help ease anxiety, pain, and sleep issues.
The survey also revealed that 51 percent of Americans would be likely or very likely to use medical cannabis if their employers covered it. At this point, traditional insurance does not include cannabis, making it cost-prohibitive for many prospective patients.
“94 percent of Americans live in a state where cannabis is legal in some form,” Sean Collins, co-founder and CEO of EO Care, said in a press release. “With the right medicinal cannabis guidance, employers have an opportunity to help their employees, improve health outcomes, and be progressive leaders in offering this important benefit that employees will come to expect.”
The EO Care data comes amidst a call for increased education and awareness around cannabis within the healthcare community. A recent Canadian study found that many cancer patients were finding relief with cannabis, but radiology teams are unprepared to answer questions about the plant.
“Finding clinical guidance for medicinal cannabis is difficult because most doctors lack the knowledge, and retail dispensaries are not equipped to provide medical advice,” Collins continued. “As a result, we have tens of millions of Americans using cannabis for health reasons without guidance on specific product recommendations, dosage amounts, possible drug interactions, or consideration of their health history and other potential health risks.”
More people are turning to medical cannabis, but a lack of knowledge among doctors may be holding patients back. While it may take federal marijuana legalization to enact change in the healthcare community, the EO Care survey shows that Americans desire a clear channel of communication on the plant with their physicians when it comes to the plant.