The Portland branch of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is teaming up with an Oregon university on a new website that aims to provide resources to make healthcare providers “more comfortable” discussing marijuana treatment with patients. While VA doctors are permitted to discuss cannabis with patients, many continue to feel reluctant to do so given that marijuana remains strictly prohibited under federal law and they’re barred from issuing medical cannabis recommendations that other non-VA doctors can provide in legal states. To help assuage those concerns, Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) Center for Evidence-based Policy and Portland VA launched an initiative last month called Systematically Testing the Evidence on Marijuana, or STEM. The website contains information about marijuana studies that have been published, others that are currently underway, and additional general clinician resources for physicians. “Providers have not become familiar with the health effects of cannabis,” principle investigator Devan Kansagara, a professor of medicine at OHSU and a staff physician at the Portland VA, said in a press release. “That’s partly because we’ve lacked the evidence we like to see when recommending treatments to patients, and partly because of a lack of familiarity with terminology and practical issues about cannabis.” “The STEM site could help providers feel more comfortable discussing cannabis and help normalize conversations, similar to the process we have become so familiar with when talking to patients about alcohol use,” he said.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 02/03/2022 09:26:00