Didiodato, Giulio, Samah Hassan, & Kieran Coole (2021, March). Elicitation of stakeholder viewpoints about medical cannabis research for pain management in critically ill ventilated patients: A Q-methodology study. PLoS ONE, 16(3), art. e0248475. 11 pp. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248475) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0248475) (Open Access: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0248475)

Abstract: Objectives: To determine acceptability of medical cannabis research in critically ill patients. Design: Q-methodology survey. Setting: Convenience sample of healthcare providers and the general public were recruited at an acute care community hospital in Ontario, Canada. Participants: In the first phase, 63 respondents provided 197 unique viewpoints in response to a topic statement about medical cannabis use in critically ill patients. Twenty-five viewpoints were selected for the Q-sample. In the second phase, 99 respondents ranked these viewpoints according to an a priori quasi-normal distribution ranging from +4 (most agree) to -4 (least agree). Factor analysis was combined with comments provided by survey respondents to label and describe the extracted factors. Results: The factor labels were hoping and caring (factor 1), pragmatic progress (factor 2), and cautious/conservative and protectionist (factor 3). Factor 1 describes a viewpoint of unequivocal support for medical cannabis research in this population with few caveats. Factor 2 describes a viewpoint of cautious support with a need to monitor for unintended adverse effects. Factor 3 describes a viewpoint of ensuring that current analgosedation techniques are optimized before exposing patients to another potentially harmful drug. Conclusions: Using a Q-methodology design, we were able to sample and describe the viewpoints that exist about medical cannabis research in critically ill patients. Three factors emerged that seemed to adequately describe the relative ranking of Q-statements by the majority of respondents. Combining the distinguishing statements along with respondent comments allowed us to determine that the majority support medical cannabis research in critically ill patients.

Giulio Didiodato <didiodatog@rvh.on.ca> is in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence & Impact, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton; and the Centre for Education & Research, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, Barrie, Ontario, Canada.