An estimated 70 percent of physicians acknowledge the therapeutic qualities of cannabis and over half believe that the plant should also be legal for medical purposes, according to survey data released this week by WebMD/Medscape.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents say that cannabis can help in the treatment of specific diseases and 67 percent say that the plant should be available as a legal therapeutic option for patients.
Oncologists and hematologists were most likely to express support for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with 82 percent of those surveyed endorsing the plant’s therapeutic use. Rheumatologists (54 percent) were least likely to say the cannabis provides therapeutic benefits.
Over 1,500 physicians representing more than 12 specialty areas participated in the survey which possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is pleased to announce that it is now providing educational content to the editors of The Answer Page, Inc. The Answer Page, Inc. is an online medical educational resource founded in 1998 that provides daily education to healthcare professionals in 120 countries. TheAnswerPage (online at TheAnswerPage.com) uses the Socratic question-and-answer teaching method. The content for the website is primarily written by academic clinicians respected in their fields. All content is peer-reviewed and referenced from current texts and recent literature.
TheAnswerPage now features educational content in the area of medical marijuana. The editorial team of TheAnswerPage states: “Medical marijuana may be controversial, but it is now an important area of study in healthcare. Doctors and healthcare professionals must understand the medical, legal, social and political issues to best respond to their patients’ questions and attend to their needs.”
The medical marijuana ‘lecture series’ begins with an introductory primer to the cannabis plant. The following week focuses on five distinct cannabinoids and their therapeutic potential.
“NORML recognizes that physicians and health care professionals desire balanced information regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabis as a potential therapy,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “NORML is pleased to provide its expertise to TheAnswerPage to assist health care professionals better understand and navigate this important public health issue.”
Subscribers to TheAnswerPage receive continuing medical education (CME) credit by reading the content and completing an industry-unique Interactive Crossword Puzzle. The clues are structured to reinforce the educational material, and links are provided to the related content. Subscribers have personal educational accounts that organize their earned CME credit and allow clinicians to download, email or print CME certificates for credentialing and licensing.
TheAnswerPage.com has over 50 interactive crossword puzzles posted, for earning CME credit. New content and crosswords are posted daily.
TheAnswerPage‘s medical cannabis content is available at the ‘syllabus;’ select the pull down menu option: “Medical Marijuana — Medical, Legal, Social, and political Issues.” Free registration to the site is required.
Despite the recent attempts by the ATF, IRS, and four California-based US Attorneys to put a damper on the state’s medical marijuana program, the California Medical Association formally endorsed a new policy calling for the full legalization of cannabis.
The CMA represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide and is the largest industry group for doctors in the state. Last Friday, at the association’s annual meeting in Anaheim, they made official their support for the full legalization of marijuana. The group cited racial inequalities in arrests, the collateral damage to families of those incarcerated on simple marijuana charges, and growing prison costs as signs that marijuana prohibition has “proven to be a failed public health policy.”
This stance seems to have been prompted by the precarious position California doctors find themselves in under the state’s current medical law. This position forces a physician to decide whether or not to recommend a substance to a patient that is still illegal at the federal level. While their stance on the medical benefits was lukewarm to say the least (the group compared cannabis to a “folk remedy”) the CMA sees legalization for all adults as the only way to truly discover the potential medical application of cannabis and cannabinoids.
“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” stated Dr. Donald Lyman, a physician from Sacramento who helped author the new policy, “It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for.”
You can read more in-depth coverage on this issue from LA weekly here.
The full paper published on the topic by the California Medical Association can be viewed here (PDF).
Post updated to correct “Attorney Generals” [sic] to “US Attorneys”
California NORML Release – Oct 12, 2009
Paypal, the well-known internet payment company has told California NORML that it will no longer accept payments to our “type of business” because we accept listing payments from cannabis-recommending physicians.
After years of offering free listings to physicians and collectives at our website http://www.canorml.org, CaNORML began charging a yearly listing fee to cover our costs last year.
PayPal froze CaNORML’s account in June, saying that by accepting listing fees fromcollectives, we were violating their Acceptable Use policy, which says, “you may not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of narcotics.” Although narcotics were not being sold over the CaNORML site, we reluctantly agreed to stop accepting listings fees from collectives that dispense medical marijuana, recognizing that even though they are legal under state law, they are illegal under federal law. However, we continued to accept payments online from doctors, attorneys, and members.
Now PayPal has stopped accepting payments from the CaNORML site because we continued to accept listing payments from physicians.
Under a ruling upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (Conant v. Walters, 2003), physicians have the first amendment right to discuss and recommend medical marijuana for their patients, although they may not distribute it or help patients in finding it. PayPal was informed of this and wrote back, “We are not arguing the legality of this issue; we are simply stating that we have made the business decision to not be involved with this type of business.”
Because of its discriminatory policy and disregard of physicians’ first amendment rights, CaNORML submits that PayPal is not the “type of business” to be used by those who advocate for human rights. We will file a complaint with the federal banking committee over their practices.
Located in San Jose, California, PayPal was founded in 1998 and was acquired by eBay (California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s former company) in 2002.
Complain to: PayPal, 2211 N 1st St, San Jose 95131 (408) 376-7400
Dale Gieringer, CA NORML
[Statement of Paypal's Accceptable Use]
We appreciate the fact that you chose PayPal to send and receive payments for your transactions.
Under the Acceptable Use Policy, you may not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances, products that present a risk to consumer safety or drug paraphernalia. PayPal makes such decisions after reviewing laws, regulations and other actions by governmental agencies, other available evidence, and marketing content related to the product.
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We are hereby notifying you that, after a recent review of your account activity, it has been determined that you are in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy regarding your sales at http://www.canorml.org/prop/collectivetips.html. PayPal cannot be used to accept fees for listing information related to marijuana dispensaries, delivery services and cannabis physicians.