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Changing attitudes gives researchers more insight and information about the role cannabis and CBD can play.
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As Americans age, hospices are looking for new ways to bring peace and tranquility to the often slow and painful process of end-of-life care. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an estimated 1.4 million Medicare patients were patients in a hospice.
Hospices have quadrupled in the last 20 years and are investing in creating a patient-centered approach that negates the perception of some hospices that are not feeling well. From massage to aromatherapy, some hospices are adding to their existing programs to incorporate music and family integration into meaningful experiences. While many hospices focus on providing thoughtful quality of care, some end-of-life care specialists also advocate marijuana.
A study by MorseLife Hospice and Palliative Care, which focused on advances in hospice care, identified changing attitudes towards medical cannabis. Investigators noted that “87 percent of Americans support the use of medical marijuana as a treatment option for terminally ill patients, with nearly three in five Americans (58 percent) expressing strong support.”
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The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine recently released a video on how hospices can incorporate medical marijuana into care, potentially signaling an even greater acceptance of cannabis as part of a patient’s care plan.
Pathways Home Health is committed to promoting marijuana in hospice care. “Marijuana is used in hospice care to alleviate mental and existential suffering. Some studies show an important therapeutic role for patients confronted with the desperation of an incurable disease and the associated loss of function. A slight euphoria or feeling of well-being can calm a patient’s mind, body, and spirit as they grapple with their fate, ”they noted.
Stuck in political limbo
While some hospice programs in the US include medical cannabis, others face uncertainties as to whether or not medical marijuana should be approved, even if it is legal in their respective state. As more states allow or consider cannabis medicinally and recreationally, hospices are taking an evidence-based, risk-management-oriented approach to ensure that they not only comply, but that compliance is both legal and ethical.
Changing attitudes gives researchers more insight and information about the role cannabis and CBD can play in hospice and palliative care settings.
A study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine in October 2019 gathered medical cannabis views from more than 300 palliative care professionals in over 40 US states.
Photo by HighGradeRoots / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The study found “overwhelming support” for the use of medicinal cannabis in a hospice. Regardless of the legal status, the hospice employees largely agreed that medical cannabis is suitable for hospice patients to gain access to and use by hospice patients, the investigators concluded.
Still, citing barriers such as legal status, clinical safety, and societal influence, the study’s authors suggest ways to better support hospice providers and patients with education, research, and guidelines that encourage the use of medicinal cannabis.
With new patients entering the hospice every day, and with some clinicians and doctors looking to supplement old pain relievers with newer treatments, cannabis could also be the focus for years to come.
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The FreshToast.com, a US lifestyle website that serves lifestyle content and, through its partnership with 600,000 doctors, distributes medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp through Skipta.
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