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53% Of Uruguayan Doctors Recommend Medical Cannabis

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A survey carried out by the Catholic University of Uruguay reveals that the majority of the country’s doctors are willing to recommend the use of medical cannabis.

A study entitled “Medical cannabis in Uruguay: a study on the medical community and persistent challenges,” conducted by interviewing 275 domestic doctors, has revealed highly encouraging results. The majority of those surveyed said that they would prescribe the drug (64%), and only 21% are undecided, with only 15% responding that they would not administer the drug at all. Neurologists, internists, rheumatologists, and surgeons are the most likely to write prescriptions for their patients.

The most common conditions for which cannabis is prescribed medically in Uruguay are rheumatism, neurological diseases generally, cancer, chronic pain, palliative patients, and those with mental illnesses.

Even more encouragingly, more than 90% of the respondents said that it was relevant to include the endocannabinoid system in both undergraduate and graduate medical education.

Even more intriguingly, even though Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis, medical cannabis generally, is lagging in the country.

Encouraging Medical Developments Amid Greater Reform

The survey is certainly welcome news in a world where the medical community has not warmed particularly quickly to the idea of cannabis as a legitimate medical drug. Most doctors in places like Canada or even across Europe still view the drug with a considerable suspicion – due mainly to their unfamiliarity with cannabis not to mention the enduring stigma that still exists in many medical programs.

As of this April in fact, a study from Ontario suggests that the majority of doctors in the province are still reluctant to prescribe cannabis to treat chronic pain. This survey tracks findings also found back in 2019 on a national basis, from the Canadian Medical Association. 

That said, the lack of acceptance from the medical community has not slowed down the growth of the overall industry. Indeed, the number of Canadians who admitted to using cannabis, for any purpose, swelled from under 24,000 in June 2015 to over 370,000 by September of last year.

In places like Germany, where medical cannabis covered by insurance is still less than five years old, doctors remain reluctant to prescribe the drug too, but for reasons beyond its medical efficacy – namely the financial liability they still face for prescribing too much.

Cannabis education – for both doctors and insurers – remains a high priority in almost every legalizing country – but perhaps Uruguay can continue to show the way.

Be sure to stay tuned to more developments from the International Cannabis Business Conference.