By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
An estimated 70 percent of physicians acknowledge the therapeutic qualities of cannabis and over half believe that the plant should also be legal for non-medical purposes, according to survey data released this week by WebMD/Medscape.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents say that cannabis can help in the treatment of specific diseases and 67 percent say that the plant should be available as a legal therapeutic option for patients.
Oncologists and hematologists were most likely to express support for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with 82 percent of those surveyed endorsing the plant's therapeutic use. Rheumatologists (54 percent) were least likely to say the cannabis provides therapeutic benefits.
Regarding the non-medical use of cannabis, 56 percent of physicians surveyed say that they support making the plant legal nationwide for adults. Recent national polling data indicates similar levels of support for marijuana legalization among the general public.
Over 1,500 physicians representing more than 12 specialty areas participated in the survey which possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.