Chronic pain is the most common reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs (64.9%), according to an analysis of 15 states published in the journal Health Affairs.
Following chronic pain are stiffness from multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy-related nausea.
“Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions, 85.5% had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy,” the study concluded.
The analysis is based on 2016 data from the 15 states that reported the reasons given for using medical marijuana. Researchers compared the symptoms and conditions with a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence: a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
“Cannabis is the first thing I’ve found that actually makes the pain go away and not leave me so high that I can’t enjoy my day,” said Brandian Smith, who has fibromyalgia.
More than 800,000 patients were enrolled in medical marijuana programs in 2017 in 19 states. That doesn’t count California and Maine, which don’t require patients to register. Other estimates have put the number at more than 2 million patients.
AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico