A Pragmatic, Person-Centered View of Cannabis in the United States: Pursuing Care That Transcends Beliefs

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Subst Abus. 2023 Oct;44(4):337-347. doi: 10.1177/08897077231202836. Epub 2023 Oct 30.


BACKGROUND: Rates of cannabis use are increasing in the United States, likely as a result of changes in societal attitudes and expanding legalization. Although many patients report wanting to discuss the risks and benefits of cannabis use with their clinical providers, many providers hold conflicting beliefs regarding cannabis use and often do not engage patients in discussion about cannabis. This dilemma is underscored by the limitations imposed on cannabis related research, and lack of empirically based best-practice guidelines for clinicians when addressing cannabis use with patients.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to briefly summarize clinician and patient attitudes toward cannabis use and review current clinical guidelines and provide suggestions to assist health care providers and clinicians in increasing their comfort and skill in discussing cannabis use with patients.

METHODS: A narrative review on attitudes toward cannabis use and clinical guidelines was performed to summarize the literature and provide evidence-based recommendations.

RESULTS: Attitudes toward cannabis use have been shaped by personal and political factors and contribute to clinician hesitance in speaking with patients about the topic. Administrative barriers have hindered the development of clearer public health guidelines that might enable the dissemination of evidence-based information on the health effects of cannabis use and might ultimately lead to better health outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Not discussing cannabis use with patients may be a crucial missed opportunity for harm reduction. In the absence of empirically supported best-practice guidelines, a person-centered approach can facilitate conversations on the harms and benefits of cannabis use.

PMID:37902034 | DOI:10.1177/08897077231202836

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