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Colorado Physicians Tend To Not Recommend Medical Marijuana, Agree More Data Needed, New Study Finds

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In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 file photo, medical marijuana is packaged for sale in 1-gram packages at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary, in Seattle. Votes this week by Colorado and Washington to allow adult marijuana possession have prompted what could be a turning point in the nation's conflicted and confusing war on drugs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) | AP

Although medical marijuana has experienced a renewed popularity in the past decade, a recently published study finds that Colorado physicians tend to not recommend the drug.

The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM) says that of the 520 Colorado physicians who were anonymously surveyed, "46 percent did not support physicians recommending medical marijuana." Only 19 percent actually recommended the drug, while 92 percent agreed that more medical data needed to be available to family physicians.

Robert Brockman, president of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians told The Denver Post that he doesn't believe physicians have a bias against marijuana.

"What the study shows is most physicians know the risk and benefits are not clear," Brockman said.

According to the study, over 60 percent of respondents agreed that "marijuana poses serious mental and physical health risks."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says that over 108,000 people in the state posses valid medical marijuana cards, 68 percent of whom are male. The overwhelming majority of the patients cite "severe pain" as the reason for their card. Three percent cited cancer and one percent cited Cachexia or HIV/AIDS.

The study's authors, Elin Kondrad, MD and Alfred Reid, MA, say that to their knowledge this is "the only study of physician attitudes toward medical marijuana ever done in a state where medical marijuana has been legalized."

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