Terminal Illness: Symptom Relief with marijuana

Dr. Michael Duplessie, FRCS Ophth (Glasgow), M.B., B.Ch., L.R.C.P. & S.I., B.A.O., B.A.

Terminal Illness: Symptom Relief with marijuana

Recruiting participants for randomized controlled trials in palliative care can be difficult due to the progression of disease and terminal illness, which may lead to high rates of attrition. However, research suggests that qualitative sub-studies can identify challenges to participation and inform revisions to study designs and recruitment practices. This paper presents findings from a qualitative sub-study that explores patient decision-making in medicinal cannabis randomized controlled trials for symptom relief in advanced cancer patients in Australia.

The study found that participants were enthusiastic about medicinal cannabis as a beneficial alternative for symptom management, especially after exhausting currently approved options and as a safer alternative to opioids. However, logistical challenges such as driving restrictions and fatigue were identified as significant barriers to participation. The reluctance to interfere with an existing care plan, cost, and concerns about receiving the placebo and the uncertainty of the benefit were also reported as barriers to participation.

The findings highlight the importance of qualitative sub-studies in informing revisions to subsequent medicinal cannabis randomized controlled trials, such as omitting a requirement for weekly hospital appointments. Although challenges to recruitment are universal, others are context-specific, and the absence of the stigma barrier in the current study is notable. Therefore, the findings have important implications for the development of randomized controlled trials in the rapidly growing field of medical cannabis, offering hope that medicinal cannabis may be an effective treatment option for symptom relief in advanced cancer patients.

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Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to breaking conventions and helping those in need. My passion for medicine began during my time working in refugee camps in Thailand, and since then, I have made it my mission to provide care and support to those who need it most.

As a pioneer in the field of ophthalmology, I have made numerous contributions and innovations in the field of corneal transplantation and laser surgery.  I am comfortable challenging conventions.

I have seen firsthand the positive impact medical marijuana can have on patients struggling with pain and anxiety. 

My experiences have shown me that medical marijuana can offer significant benefits with minimal side effects, providing patients with an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications. Despite its potential, the government’s stance on marijuana is outdated and in need of revision. 

Through my observations, I have seen prescription rates for pain, stress, insomnia, anxiety to name just a few, drastically decrease among patients who have obtained a medical marijuana card, and I believe that this is a testament to its effectiveness.

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