As legal cannabis continues to enjoy broad, bipartisan support among the general public and as more states legalize the substance for either medical or recreational purposes, a recently released landmark study sheds new light on the conditions for which patients seek medical cannabis and how those conditions vary by geographic region, age, and gender identity.
The study, the 2022 Cannabis Conditions Report, was conducted by NuggMD using more than 210,000 anonymized patient records, among the largest data sets of its kind. NuggMD is a telemedicine provider that helps patients obtain medical cannabis cards in 22 states. It conducted the study in order to add more facts to the prevailing dialogue about the addition of medical cannabis to a treatment regimen.
The full report is available here. It was first reported by Marijuana Moment, one of the nation’s leading trackers of developments and news in the cannabis industry.
Concurrent with its Conditions Report, NuggMD also released the details of a complementary survey of more than 500 current medical cannabis card-holders. Importantly, 68 percent of respondents said they have ceased or reduced other pharmaceutical treatments since incorporating medical cannabis. More than 80 percent of respondents said they are comfortable discussing medical cannabis with their doctors, and more than 94 percent said cannabis provides to them moderate or total relief of the conditions for which they sought treatment.
"The evidence here is clear: medical cannabis works. It provides relief for a wide variety of conditions. More importantly, it's giving patients an alternative to dangerously addictive, often deadly pharmaceuticals. More than a century of disinformation and propaganda peddled by cannabis foes does not change these facts,” said Alex Milligan, co-founder and chief marketing officer of NuggMD.
Analysis: Inconsistent standards limit access and create unreliable data
Still, a significant barrier to access is how states limit the qualifying conditions for which a patient may be recommended medical cannabis. In some states, legislators have expanded their regulations to include more qualifying conditions or to allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis in broad terms, such as for treatment of a “debilitating medical condition.” Other states continue to unjustly prohibit their residents from accessing this form of healthcare.
Of note, the states that allow physicians to determine the qualifying condition saw a higher rate of patients reporting “other condition” as a reason they were seeking medical cannabis. Based on that datapoint, NuggMD believes that states with fewer qualifying conditions are either deterring patients from seeking the medication they need or reducing the accuracy of available data by forcing patients in need of medical cannabis to select a comorbidity rather than the primary ailment for which they were seeking an evaluation. A majority of patients in the study listed multiple conditions, which can be expected as many conditions exist co-morbidly.
“From a policy standpoint, one piece of low-hanging fruit for lawmakers is more consistency to the qualifying conditions under which states approve medical cannabis licenses for patients,” said Milligan. “The current status quo does not promote equal access to care or the evidence-based evaluation of medical outcomes, which are both cornerstones of other areas of healthcare.”
The report was authored by NuggMD's Alexandra Arnett, a University of Maryland School of Pharmacy candidate for a Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics. Medical review was provided by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD, Pain Management & Sports Medicine, with analysis, editing, and fact-checking conducted by NuggMD's Tyler Elson and Deb Tharp.
NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. They've connected over 1,000,000 patients face-to-face with their new medical marijuana doctors via their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They believe every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore every option in their journey to wellness. For further information, visit NuggMD.com.
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