Chemotherapy Patients Struggle Getting Medical Marijuana

One of the most accepted forms of medical marijuana therapy is its ability to settle the stomach and stimulate hunger. The problem is that most of the top medical minds in the world are still ignoring the medical benefits of cannabis.

Massachusetts General Hospital is a top ranked hospital in the Untied States, and Massachusetts has offered medical marijuana for the last 6 years. No medical professional at Mass General knows anything about medical marijuana though. When a recent cancer patient in Massachusetts inquired about medical marijuana to help her get through her chemotherapy treatment, she found out first hand how little doctors know about medical cannabis.

Only about 1 percent of Massachusetts’ 25,000 doctors are registered with the state and allowed to legally prescribe marijuana. And only a fraction of those know much about cancer care.

Last June, the Massachusetts Medical Society approved a new online curriculum for medical marijuana. Six months later, only 27 medical professionals have taken the section on cancer care and cannabis. Both the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center told WBUR they had no experts on staff to speak with us for this report.

Tishler, a former emergency room physician and music producer, said he treats cannabis like any other therapy, meeting with new patients for an extended conversation and follow-ups. But some cannabis prescribers, he said, just want to sign the state paperwork and move on.

“By and large, physicians are simply saying, ‘yes, you can have it,’ and then stopping the conversation there,” he said.

Tischler explained that medical centers — particularly those that take federal funding — are in a tight spot because federal law still classifies cannabis as an illegal drug, despite its legalization for medical purposes, at a minimum, in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

“Most of those institutions are prohibited and/or afraid of the prohibitions from the federal government, so have opted not to pursue this within their domain,” Tischler said. He set up his private clinic so he could operate outside of those systems, though he said he receives referrals from all the major hospitals.

Money controls the medical industry and nothing makes that truth more clear than medical professionals ignoring the potential benefits of cannabis for their patients in fear of losing their funding. Do you think anyone enters into the medical industry because they actually want to help people?

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