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Cystic fibrosis and cannabis – new survey highlights lack of education

Almost three quarters of healthcare providers felt unprepared to answer patient’s questions about cannabis

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cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs.

A new survey has revealed that how healthcare professionals approach cannabis use in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients varies across the US. 

The approach to cannabis use assessment, documentation, and education across care centres is “variable”, according to the study, published in the journal Paediatric Pulmonology.

Out of nearly 300 healthcare professionals working with CF patients across the US, almost three quarters (72 percent) felt “not at all” prepared to answer patient’s questions about cannabis and CBD.

Nearly half assessed patients’ cannabis use on occasion, with 41 percent rarely or never asking about it, and 15.4 percent always assessing its use.

What is cystic fibrosis?

CF is a progressive, genetic disease that affects the lungs, digestive system, pancreas, and other organs.

It causes persistent lung infections and can affect the patient’s ability to breathe over time.

CBD has gained increasing interest as a potential treatment for several health conditions.

But the role of cannabis and CBD in healthcare “remains relatively controversial” with a lack of safety and efficacy data in specific chronic diseases, such as CF, according to researchers. 

Cannabis is commonly consumed through inhalation, such as smoking or vaping, a method of administration not recommended to CF sufferers.

The study aims to help open the dialogue around cannabis use in people living with cystic fibrosis.

A cross-sectional survey of 282 healthcare professionals working with CF patients, analysed participants’ awareness of current cannabis laws in their state, as well as prescribing practices for medical cannabis, documentation and assessment.

They were also asked what indications they believe cannabis and CBD could be beneficial for, with appetite, pain, and nausea reported as the top three reasons for use.

The authors called for more care teams and patient/caregiver education materials about cannabis, CBD and CF. 

“As research interest in cannabis and its chemical components continues to advance and as accessibility of cannabis and CBD widens, it is prudent to include cystic fibrosis in the conversation,” they stated.

Access the full study here 

 

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