Analysis: Medical Cannabis Most Commonly Recommended for Treating Chronic Pain Conditions


Mississauga, Canada: Patients in the United States seeking medical cannabis recommendations are most likely to report suffering from chronic pain, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research

Analysts affiliated with CB2 Insights, a chain of medical cannabis evaluation clinics operating throughout the United States, assessed data from over 61,000 patients seeking medical cannabis evaluations in 12 states over a 17-month period (November 2018 to March 2020).

Patients seeking medical cannabis authorizations were most likely to report their primarily condition to be related to chronic pain (39 percent), followed by anxiety (14 percent) and post-traumatic stress (8 percent). Patients also frequently reported suffering from comorbid conditions for which they sought relief, including insomnia and depression. 

The average age of patients seeking authorizations was 46 years old, and most (67 percent) reported having had some prior experience with cannabis. 

Authors concluded: “This retrospective study offers insight into the characteristics and commonly reported type and number of medical conditions among patients accessing medical cannabis in the US. It highlighted the conditions that patients are seeking medical cannabis for most often that would benefit from further clinical evidence; mainly pain conditions, anxiety, insomnia, depression and PTSD. This study also demonstrated that patients often use medical cannabis to treat more than one condition, which is important for the medical community to understand and be aware of, as well as the patients who may be turning to cannabis as a treatment option.”

The findings are consistent with prior analyses – such as those here and here – indicating that medical cannabis patients are most likely to use the substance for pain management.

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis use in the United States: A retrospective database study,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information on the use of cannabis for chronic pain is available from NORML. Additional information is available in the NORML fact sheet, “Marijuana and Veterans Issues“.

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