The quality of dialogue and understanding that clinical healthcare and social care workers have around cannabis and cystic fibrosis (CF) could be much improved according to a recently published survey out of Oregon Health and Science University.
A multiple choice questionnaire with questions relating to how health care professionals broached cannabis use with their CF patients, was sent to providers and social workers (the majority), but also to nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and psychology care team members.
The researchers had 282 replies.
Perhaps the most illuminating finding from this survey was that only 15.4% of respondents said they “always” discussed cannabis with CF patients — 8.4% said they sometimes asked, and 41% rarely or never broached the subject of cannabis.
Where the subject was discussed, and cystic fibrosis patients reported using cannabis, health professional added it into the patient’s notes only 55.4% of the time for recreational use and 62.5% of the time for prescribed medical cannabis.
The authors sound a note of concern around this low level of engagement and what it may mean for patient care, given the survey also reported appetite, pain, and nausea as the top three reasons for those with CF to use cannabis.
Most concerning was that 72% of participants felt “not at all” prepared to answer patient/family questions about cannabis and CBD. But this is not specific to care of cystic fibrosis patients, nor is it a localized problem. A recent survey showed medical students in Israel didn't feel prepared to advise on cannabis for pain management, while in Vermont, less than a fifth of patients felt their doctor would know enough about cannabis to be a reliable source of information.
Development of evidence-based educational materials should help, the authors of the CF study suggest. “There is a need for a care team and patient/caregiver education materials about cannabis/CBD and CF,” they noted.