JCO Oncol Pract. 2022 Apr 8:OP2100714. doi: 10.1200/OP.21.00714. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Evidence suggests that patients with cancer frequently use cannabis with medicinal intent and desire clinical guidance from providers. We aimed to determine whether oncology training adequately prepares fellows to discuss medical cannabis.
METHODS: A national survey study was conducted from January to March 2021. A questionnaire assessing oncology fellows’ practices regarding cannabis recommendations in cancer care and their knowledge of its effectiveness and risks compared with conventional care for cancer-related symptoms was developed and sent to 155 US-based oncology training programs to distribute to trainees.
RESULTS: Forty programs from 25 states participated; of the 462 trainees across these programs, 189 responded (response rate of 40%). Of the participants, 52% were female; 52% were White, 33% Asian, and 5% Hispanic. Fifty-seven percent reported that they discussed medical cannabis with more than five patients in the preceding year; however, only 13% felt sufficiently informed to issue cannabis-related clinical recommendations. Twenty-four percent reported having received formal training regarding medical cannabis. Oncology fellows who reported having received prior training in medical cannabis were significantly more likely to discuss cannabis with patients (risk ratio: 1.37, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.75; P = .002) and feel sufficiently informed to discuss cannabis recommendations (risk ratio: 5.06; 95% CI, 2.33 to 10.99; P < .001). Many viewed the botanical as a useful adjunctive therapy that was at least as effective as conventional treatments for anorexia/cachexia (72%), nausea/vomiting (45%), and pain (41%).
CONCLUSION: Most oncology trainees not only reported engaging in discussions regarding medical cannabis with patients but also considered themselves insufficiently informed to make cannabis-related clinical recommendations. The discrepancy between the frequency of cannabis inquiries/discussions at the patient level and comfort/knowledge at the trainee provider level represents an unmet curricular need with implications for both graduate medical education and patient care.
Source: ncbi 2