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The Experiences of Medical Marijuana Patients

A Scoping Review of the Qualitative Literature

Ryan, Jennie; Sharts-Hopko, Nancy

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: June 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 3 - p 185–190
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000283
Literature Review

ABSTRACT Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of the United States but remains federally prohibited and classified as a schedule 1 drug. The chemical compounds in marijuana are known neuroprotectants; however, their clinical efficacy and safety have not been proven. Many healthcare providers remain unaware of the therapeutic potential of marijuana and its adverse effects. The conflicting laws and lack of guidance from healthcare professionals can lead to confusion and frustration for patients seeking this medication. Multiple factors contribute to the unique and varied experiences of medical marijuana patients. Because more individuals with neurological disorders seek therapeutic marijuana, it is important for healthcare professionals to understand their distinctive experiences. Qualitative research methodology is ideal to capture the thick descriptions of these experiences. This review examines the qualitative research exploring the experiences of medical marijuana patients and discusses common themes across all studies.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Jennie Ryan, MSN CPNP-AC, at She is a PhD Candidate, College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA. Nancy Sharts-Hopko, PhD RN FAAN, is Professor and Director, PhD Program, College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses