A new study has found that the public significantly overrates the ability of medical cannabis to counteract the effects of glaucoma.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that the public remains overly optimistic regarding the ways and means by which glaucoma’s effects may be alleviated, and seeks to provide the public with more information on the issue.
“This study contributes to filling the gap in our knowledge about patients’ perceptions toward using medical cannabis for glaucoma and their intentions to seek this therapeutic alternative,” the authors of the study wrote. “Understanding these intentions will become even more important as states continue to legalize marijuana for recreational use (currently Washington, D.C., and 4 other states), as patients with glaucoma will then have access to marijuana without the need for a physician to prescribe this drug.”
The study was conducted between February 1 and July 31, 2013. It was compiled from surveys of 204 patients who either currently suffer from glaucoma or are suspected of having it. According to the researchers, popular expectations regarding the drug’s positive effects far outpace the current research-supported ways of using the drug.
“This strong public-driven shift toward legalization of medical marijuana seems to clash with the relatively weak scientific evidence supporting its therapeutic use, particularly for treatment of glaucoma,” wrote the researchers in an editorial published in the same medical journal. “Altering this complex web of beliefs, misconceptions, satisfaction, and discontent requires an equally intricate patient-centered approach if physicians who treat patients with glaucoma are to effectively influence patient perception and transcend the clash between scientific evidence and popular culture.”
Twenty-three states, as well as the District of Columbia, have thus far legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes. Many of those states did so by voter referendums.