Why this orthopedic surgeon left the field after 30 years — for the medical marijuana boom

Written by Anuja Vaidya | August 05, 2016 | Print  |

For 30 years, Francis D'Ambrosio, MD, provided care as an orthopedic surgeon. Today, however, he provides consultations and prescriptions for medical cannabis, according to an LA Weekly report.

The former orthopedist has many reasons for making the career change. One is that while performing orthopedic surgeries he aimed to offer a better quality of life for his patients. But, "you'd do these amazing operations on their backs, and they were still in miserable pain. It was very unsatisfying," he told LA Weekly. He also wanted to give patients another option besides opioids to treat pain.


Research in medical marijuana in the United States is minimal. The Oxford-based University of Mississippi is the only U.S. university that is legally allowed to grow marijuana for research, according to the report. U.S. physicians often have to point to studies from countries abroad that show the benefits of cannabis.


Dr. D'Ambrosio offers over-the-phone consultations, which he believes makes his patients more comfortable as the use of cannabis still has a social stigma attached to it. He joined the cannabis business after banking restrictions on these businesses were loosened in 2014. He has no intention of going back to orthopedic surgery.


After he became a cannabis advocate, and started seeing patients, "the most amazing thing happened — people were happy. Everyone would leave the office happy. I wasn't used to that," he told LA Weekly.


More news on orthopedics:
Total knee replacement discharges up nearly 400k from 2000 to 2010: 70 statistics
Dr. Nikhil Verma to head sports medicine division at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center
Sports-related brain injuries are an emerging risk for insurers: 5 things to know

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