Last updated on: 9/25/2013 5:17:57 PM PST
What Are the Findings of Physician Surveys on Medical Marijuana?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Elin Kondrad, MD, Medical Director for the Family Medicine Center at the St. Anthony Family Medicine Residency, and Alfred O. Reid, MA, Assistant Professor and Director of Information and Research Services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stated the following in their Jan./Feb. 2013 study titled "Colorado Family Physicians' Attitudes Toward Medical Marijuana," published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine:

"Despite a high prevalence of use in Colorado, most family physicians are not convinced of marijuana's health benefits and believe its use carries risks. Nearly all agreed on the need for further medical education about medical marijuana....

We distributed an online survey to the 1727 members of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) in January 2011... A total of 520 responses were obtained, for a response rate of 30%... Of the physicians surveyed, 31% reported ever recommending medical marijuana to a patient...

Of responding physicians, 46% said that physicians should not recommend marijuana as a medical therapy at all; 19% agreed that physicians should recommend medical marijuana. Most physicians surveyed agreed that there were significant physical (61%) and mental (64%) health risks with marijuana use. Only a minority of physicians surveyed disagreed that there were significant physical (18%) and mental (15%) health risks with marijuana use. When asked about benefits of marijuana use, 27% of those surveyed agreed that there were significant physical health benefits, while 41% disagreed. Fifteen percent agreed there were significant mental health benefits, while 54% disagreed."

Jan./Feb. 2013 - Elin Kondrad, MD 
Alfred O. Reid, Jr., MA 

WebMD Senior Writer Daniel DeNoon, in a Sep. 6, 2003 article titled "Medical Marijuana Slowly Gains Ground," wrote:

"In the last week of July 2003, Medscape -- WebMD's web site for medical professionals -- asked its members what they thought about medical marijuana. It wasn't a scientific poll, although a member's vote is counted only once. Still, the results were surprising. There was a huge response. Three out of four doctors -- and nine out of 10 nurses -- said they favored decriminalization of marijuana for medical uses."

Sep. 6, 2003 - WebMD 

The Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Communications Consultant Hilary McQuie, stated in a July 27, 2003 article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"[S]since the passage of California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, more than 1,500 physicians statewide have recommended medical cannabis to their patients. But over 80 percent of medical cannabis recommendations have come from 10 doctors. Many of the others that have made recommendations will only agree to do so if the patient has a terminal illness, despite the widespread understanding that marijuana is also effective in treating many non-terminal illnesses."

July 27, 2003 - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) 
San Francisco Chronicle 

Reuters Health reported the findings of researchers at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I. that were presented at the 2001 annual meeting of the American Society of Addiction Medicine on Apr. 23, 2001:

"Of the 960 physicians questioned nationwide, 36 percent agreed that doctors should be able to legally prescribe marijuana as medical therapy, while 38 percent disagreed and 26 percent were neutral.

For the study, researchers surveyed physicians in five specialty areas: addiction medicine-psychiatry, general psychiatry, obstetrics-gynecology, family practice and internal medicine. The results of the survey found that obstetricians-gynecologists and internists were more likely to support medical marijuana than other specialists surveyed. The researchers postulated that doctors in these two specialty areas see more cancer patients and are more sensitive to marijuana's potential to ease chemotherapy side-effects and pain."

Apr. 23, 2001 - Reuters 

Eric Voth, MD, Chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy, and Richard Schwartz, MD, Physician in Advanced Pediatrics at the INOVA Fairax Hospital for Children, conducted a survey in 1995 of 1,500 oncologists regarding their opinion of the available antiemetic drugs:

"Most credible oncologists do not support using crude marijuana. According to our 1995 study, only 12% of oncologists ever recommended [marijuana] to their patients and that could be out of thousands of patients. Only 1% of those oncologists had recommended more than 5 times per year. This finding is quite different than the Kleiman/Doblin study. Some oncologists allow the marijuana after being asked for it by their patients rather than volunteering a recommendation."

1995 - Richard H. Schwartz, MD 
Eric A. Voth, MD 

Mark Kleiman, PhD, Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, and Rick Doblin, PhD, President of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), conducted a 1990 survey on oncologists' attitudes and experiences with medical marijuana that revealed:

"Out of 1,035 clinical oncologists surveyed, 44% of oncologists said they had ever recommended smoked marijuana to one or more of their patients."

1990 - Rick Doblin, PhD 
Mark A.R. Kleiman, PhD 

The Green Party of Aotearoa conducted a medical marijuana survey of physicians in New Zealand. The survey (published in October 2003) reported that out of the 225 responses received (margin of error +/- 6.5%):

"The Green Party of Aotearoa conducted a medical marijuana survey of physicians in New Zealand. The survey (published in October 2003) reported that out of the 225 responses they received (margin of error +/- 6.5%):

  • 37% of doctors felt they did not have sufficient knowledge about the potential of medicinal uses of cannabis.

  • 32% of doctors indicated they would consider prescribing medicinal cannabis products if it were legal to do so.

  • Very few doctors had ever recommended medicinal use of cannabis to a patient (6%) regardless of vocation....

  • Between all other physicians, and ophthalmologists, 11% of ophthalmologists and 39% of Other Doctors indicated they would consider prescribing medicinal cannabis if it were legal to do so....

  • 33% of Other Doctors and 23% of Ophthalmologists thought medical practitioners should be able to prescribe cannabis products."

Oct. 2003 - Green Party of Aotearoa (New Zealand)