Doctors were given the hypothetical case of Marilyn, a 68-year-old woman with breast cancer which had spread to her lungs, chest and spine. When asked whether she should be prescribed marijuana to help ease her symptoms, a majority of respondents said yes.
The survey included responses from 1,446 doctors from 72 different countries and 56 different states and provinces in North America. In addition, 118 doctors posted comments about their decision on the survey.
"We were surprised by the outcome of polling and comments, with 76 percent of all votes in favor of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes -- even though marijuana use is illegal in most countries," the survey's authors wrote.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S., and is currently legal with a doctor's prescription in only 19 states and the District of Columbia. Voters in Washington and Colorado have legalized pot for recreational purposes.
Each U.S. state and province with at least 10 respondents had more than 50 percent support for medicinal marijuana except Utah. In Utah, only 1 percent of 76 voters supported medicinal marijuana. In Pennsylvania 96 percent of 107 votes were cast in support of medicinal marijuana.
Even as support for legalization mounts, former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively says he wants to create the "Starbucks of marijuana," and is buying two medical marijuana businesses to get started.
"We're going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business," Shively said a Thursday news conference. He hopes to capture 40 percent of the global marijuana market with his worldwide retail pot chain.
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