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We Asked Health Care Professionals What They Think Of Weed, Man

Users of the health care app Figure 1 said they would encourage patients to try more "traditional" therapies before turning to marijuana.

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A majority of health care workers such as doctors, nurses, and medical students would prescribe marijuana to patients if they could, according to an online survey conducted by the Figure 1 medical app for BuzzFeed Canada.

A total of 10,143 self-identified health care workers in more than 100 countries completed a voluntary survey about medical marijuana. Nearly 7,000 of those surveyed were in the United States, with 702 coming from Canada, 410 from Australia, and 394 from the United Kingdom. Figure 1 is a smartphone app used to share and discuss medical cases. It claims a user base of more than one million health care professionals around the world.
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images

A total of 10,143 self-identified health care workers in more than 100 countries completed a voluntary survey about medical marijuana. Nearly 7,000 of those surveyed were in the United States, with 702 coming from Canada, 410 from Australia, and 394 from the United Kingdom.

Figure 1 is a smartphone app used to share and discuss medical cases. It claims a user base of more than one million health care professionals around the world.

This aligns with a BuzzFeed survey of Canadian medical marijuana users that found over 40% used the drug for pain management, the most popular response.

This aligns with a BuzzFeed survey of Canadian medical marijuana users that found over 40% used the drug for pain management, the most popular response.

Even though most heath care professionals surveyed said they would prescribe pot, they don't view it as a first option when treating patients. Overall, 76% said they expect patients to try a more "traditional" therapy before marijuana.

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

Just under 30% of health care professionals surveyed said they would recommend patients take their marijuana by eating or drinking it. That was the most popular method, followed by oil at 21%.

"The strong preference for taking marijuana in food, drink or oil form makes sense, given the serious dangers of smoking," said Dr. Joshua Landy, a critical care specialist and the co-founder of Figure 1.Twenty-one percent of respondents said they are not yet sure which method is best for patients. This element of uncertainty around medical marijuana isn't surprising given that 97% said they could not currently prescribe marijuana to their patients.
Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images

"The strong preference for taking marijuana in food, drink or oil form makes sense, given the serious dangers of smoking," said Dr. Joshua Landy, a critical care specialist and the co-founder of Figure 1.

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they are not yet sure which method is best for patients. This element of uncertainty around medical marijuana isn't surprising given that 97% said they could not currently prescribe marijuana to their patients.

The final, optional question on the survey asked whether the health care professionals use marijuana themselves. A total of 17% said they use the drug, and more than 10,000 people chose to answer the question.

The country with the highest percentage of healthcare professionals who use marijuana? That was Canada, with 25% of respondents saying they use pot.The survey was conducted in the Figure 1 app and on its website between April 14 and 18, 2016.
Russel A. Daniels / The Associated Press

The country with the highest percentage of healthcare professionals who use marijuana? That was Canada, with 25% of respondents saying they use pot.

The survey was conducted in the Figure 1 app and on its website between April 14 and 18, 2016.

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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