Cannabis in Hospice Care

Some recent highlights and curiosities from the amazing world of cannabis science and therapeutics.
By Adrian Devitt-Lee On May 22, 2019
Joyful mature man holding a joint and looking at the camera isolated on white background

The elderly are the fastest growing population of cannabis users. But how do hospice workers feel about their patients using cannabis? A recent survey by pharmacists at the University of Maryland asked palliative care practitioners about their opinions on cannabis use among hospice patients. Over 90% of workers support the use of cannabis, but most physicians did not recommend cannabis to their patients. This may be due to a lack of knowledge about safe use of cannabis — over 80% of respondents wanted standardized protocols on the use of cannabis in palliative care. As well, many hospices receive federal funding, so workers were worried about breaking federal law, even while complying with state laws. Fewer than one in five hospices had a formal policy about medical cannabis. Workers reported that cannabis was useful in reducing pain, anxiety and nausea. But physicians would rarely bring up cannabis to their patients.

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Adrian Devitt-Lee, Project CBD's chief science writer, is employed as a research chemist by the University College of London.