Navigating Medical Cannabis Is Continuing Challenge in Hospice and Palliative Care
By Larry Beresford
Medical cannabis continues to move into the mainstream across the United States, but in many places it’s a therapeutic option that patients with serious illnesses and their families must largely navigate on their own.
Though medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, plus the District of Columbia, conflicting federal laws and limited research on cannabis’ safety and efficacy present an ongoing challenge for hospice and palliative care programs whose patients are interested in medical cannabis or already using it to manage pain and other symptoms.
The situation is particularly challenging for hospices, which are primarily funded by Medicare. Many hospices say they cannot legally prescribe medical marijuana because it remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law.