Chronic pain is the most common reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs.
About 85 percent of patients' reasons were supported by substantial or conclusive evidence in the National Academies report. According to the study, the vast majority of users were seeking treatment for an evidence-based medical condition, with chronic pain accounting for 62.2% of all patient-reported qualifying conditions.
The study looked to understand whether patients were using cannabis for evidence-based reasons and found that some of the qualifying conditions allowed by state laws often lack good scientific evidence.
According to the new study conducted by Kevin Boehnke, the medical marijuana consumption rose considerably, while about 86 percent of the medicinal cannabis license holders reported that they appealed to pot due to an ailment.
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Medical marijuana is already legal across several countries around the world, while others have also legalized the recreational use of cannabis. The data that is collected varies widely, and some states are more stringent than others. By 2018, however, 33 states and the District of Columbia regulated the consumption of cannabis for medical purposes. That doesn't count California and ME, which don't require patients to register. Three states had missing data because they do not publish reports every year: Michigan, Montana, and Rhode Island. There were 813,917 registered patients in 2017.
An employee, known as a budtender, left, helps a customer, who smells product, at The Station, a retail and medical cannabis dispensary, in Boulder, Colo.in August 2016. He's an investigator at University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.
"This finding is consistent with the prevalence of chronic pain, which affects an estimated 100 million Americans", the authors state. He added that another reason why chronic pain is probably a dominating condition for cannabis prescription is because "chronic pain is very challenging to manage and treat effectively".
Medical experts say THC can be separated from cannabis, as can Cannabidiol, or CBD. She said she stopped taking opioid painkillers because marijuana works better for her. In addition, Boehnke and his co-authors would like to see cannabis removed as a Schedule I substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule I means a substance has no medical use and has a high potential for abuse; because of the classification it is hard to conduct clinical trials on marijuana. Ideally, the researchers would like to see a nationwide database of medical marijuana patients, where one could combine information from a patient registry with data from clinical trials. "We're in a time where the policy is far ahead of the science", said Boehnke.
Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, and OR saw a decline in medical marijuana patients after legalization of recreational marijuana in those states.
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