David Casarett: A doctor's case for medical marijuana
David Casarett asks: What if mainstream health care operated more like a medical marijuana dispensary? Full bio
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about the most embarrassing thing
of working as a palliative care physician.
to see a woman in her 70s --
who had pancreatic cancer.
she had pain, nausea, vomiting ...
we talked about those symptoms
that medical marijuana might help her.
about medical marijuana,
because I had learned absolutely nothing.
had no benefits whatsoever.
into the handbag next to the bed,
randomized controlled trials
marijuana has benefits
and pain and anxiety.
before offering an opinion ...
and found a bunch more.
there is some evidence
really was interested,
retired English professor?
about six months ago.
to discover this stuff. It's amazing."
about medical marijuana
in medical school
I started talking to researchers,
I started listening to patients.
based on those conversations,
around three surprises --
to medical marijuana.
as huge or as stunning
of medical marijuana
as huge and as scary
marijuana would have us believe,
that was most ...
of the patients I talked with
marijuana for help,
because of its benefits
it was a wonder drug,
control over their illness.
let me tell you about another patient.
like she was in her late 60s.
for the last 20 years,
on a wheelchair to get around.
people I've ever met.
in Northern California
to medical marijuana,
from many patients before.
she slept better.
that I'd never heard before,
control over her life
that worked for her.
then she could make changes.
anybody else's permission --
not a doctor's prescription,
for somebody with chronic illness,
or lupus or cancer or diabetes,
will face a chronic serious illness
some of us will see our cognition decline,
to care for ourselves,
my palliative care patients,
that will end their lives,
more than anything else
control of their health,
dependent on others,
that patients like Robin,
some semblance of control.
marijuana dispensaries --
back the sort of control that they need?
medical hospitals and clinics,
in Venice Beach in California
to be a medical marijuana patient.
that would let me buy medical marijuana.
a resident of California --
of recommendation to make a purchase,
make a purchase though,
because it let me be a patient.
what patients like Robin experience
of people like Robin --
many of these clinics and dispensaries,
at the outset about who I am,
for a medical marijuana prescription,
what my preferences are,
this might help me,
get asked all the time.
that make me confident
really has my best interests at heart
in those clinics
behind the counter,
from folks in the waiting room.
as I was sitting next to them --
why they use medical marijuana,
a hive of interaction, advice and support.
those people were
talking me through the nuances
making any purchase whatsoever.
you went to any hospital or clinic
explaining those sorts of things to you.
are going to these clinics,
of personalized attention
to the healthcare system.
from mainstream medicine,
are giving them what they need.
to the medical establishment,
of my colleagues are either not hearing
physicians in particular,
we need more evidence about risks."
about the benefits of medical marijuana.
to reschedule marijuana to Schedule II,
to make that research possible.
into medical marijuana's risks.
the risks of recreational use,
about the risks of medical marijuana.
to make any changes now
aren't seeking out medical marijuana
it's entirely risk-free.
in which it's delivered and administered
they need over their lives.
we really need to pay attention to.
there are lessons we can learn today
we really should learn.
and dispensaries are providing services
healthcare systems aren't --
three lessons at least
from those small dispensaries.
to give patients more control
with healthcare providers,
in ways that work for them.
creative and flexible
in using drugs safely
are drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines
if they're not used in a way
what patients want and need.
if it's delivered safely,
for patients and their families.
of those medical marijuana dispensaries
a lot of physician time necessarily,
about what medications we're using
to learn from each other.
dispensary waiting rooms?
how people share with each other.
those medical marijuana dispensaries do,
legitimately like what they want,
their fears, their goals and preferences.
hoping for and what they're afraid of.
until they're chronically seriously ill,
until they're seeing a physician like me
that healthcare is delivered.
and clinics all across the country
health systems are years behind.
lots of letters after our name,
of a large healthcare system,
about how to meet patients' needs.
a few medical marijuana dispensaries.
why so many patients like Robin
marijuana dispensaries instead.
what their tricks are,
and I absolutely think we have to,
will have a much better experience.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERDavid Casarett - Physician
David Casarett asks: What if mainstream health care operated more like a medical marijuana dispensary?
Why you should listen
In his third book, Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana, palliative care physician David Casarett takes a first-person investigative journalist's approach to making sense of marijuana's therapeutic potential and adverse effects. He shares what he's learned about this chronically misunderstood drug -- including the control it gives patients over their health and the educational atmosphere of dispensaries -- and outlines what we still need to do to explore its potential health benefits.
Casarett is a professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine and chief of palliative care for the Duke Health System. He is the author of more than 100 journal articles, numerous magazine articles, and Shocked, another nonfiction book about the science of resuscitation. Casarett's first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series, Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness, was published in September 2016. The next installment, The Missing Guests of the Magic Grove Hotel, will be published in the fall of 2017.
David Casarett | Speaker | TED.com