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Study Shows Medical Marijuana Use On Continued Rise Nationwide, Used For Various Medicinal Purposes

Benzinga 3/13/2023 Nina Zdinjak
© Provided by Benzinga

In 1996 California became the first US state to legalize medical marijuana use. Fast forward 17 years and there are 37 states and the District of Columbia with legal medical cannabis programs, the most recent being Mississippi with Gov. Tate Reeves signing the legislation in Feb. 2022. Recreational or adult-use cannabis has been approved in D.C. and 21 states.

How much has medical marijuana usage increased over these years, considering this legalization progress?

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Significantly, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. ”The prevalence of US residents using cannabis for medical purposes increased significantly from 1.2% in 2013-2014 to 2.5% in 2019-2020,” the study authors wrote, adding that this increase makes the average annual percentage of 12.9%.

Study Highlights

The research relied on data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in the period from 2013 to 2020. Starting in 2013, medical marijuana consumption began to be assessed. Those who confirmed using cannabis use over the last 12 months were asked a follow-up question about whether it had been recommended by a physician.

The analyses were repeated for key socio-demographic and clinical subgroups confirming a similar increase in cannabis use.

“In the multivariable-adjusted model, living in a state that legalized medical cannabis remained significantly associated with medical cannabis use,” the authors wrote, concluding that “the study documents a continued nationwide increase in use of cannabis for diverse medical purposes between 2013 and 2020, two decades after the first state passed legalizing legislation.”

Indications, Advice On Medical Marijuana

While the study reveals that more and more people rely on medical marijuana to treat various conditions, it is important to note that consultation with a specialist about the dosage and the product is necessary.

According to Jordan Tishler, MD - an emergency room physician, president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and CEO of his private practice inahleMD, cannabis can be used to treat a variety of illnesses, including insomnia, nausea and eating disorders caused by chemotherapy as well as chronic pain and mood issues like anxiety and depression. Based on his professional experience, medical cannabis treatments have around a 70% success rate, compared to conventional medications where 40% is considered good.

However, Tishler warns that just like any other medicine, cannabis should be used properly, as there are side effects otherwise. “The illness dictates the product,” he told Benzinga.

Thishler is advocating for more research and more education of physicians and other medical professionals. According to him, cannabis medicine should be “a specialty field of its own.”

Photo: Benzinga edit with images by RODNAE Productions and Alesia Kozik via Pexels



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