(HealthDay News) — Many oncologists recommend medical marijuana (MM) clinically despite not feeling sufficiently knowledgeable about its utility, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ilana M. Braun, MD, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 400 medical oncologists regarding their beliefs, knowledge, and practices regarding MM (response rate, 63%).

The researchers found that only 30% of oncologists felt sufficiently informed to make recommendations regarding MM. Far more (80%) discussed MM with patients, while 46% clinically recommended MM. Roughly two-thirds of respondents viewed MM as a helpful adjunct to standard pain management strategies; a similar proportion viewed MM as equally or more effective than standard treatments for anorexia/cachexia.

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“These findings are clinically important and suggest critical gaps in research, medical education, and policy regarding MM,” the authors write.

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Braun IM, Wright A, Peteet J, et al. Medical Oncologists’ Beliefs, Practices, and Knowledge Regarding Marijuana Used Therapeutically: A Nationally Representative Survey Study. J Clin Oncol. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2017.76.1221