An Analysis of Applicants Presenting to a Medical Marijuana Specialty Practice in California
Published In: Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, v. 4, no. 1, article 1, 2011, p. 1-16
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2010
While 15 states and the District of Columbia provide allowances for medical marijuana, little is known about the individuals who seek a physician's recommendation to use marijuana. This study provides descriptive information about 1,655 applicants in California who sought a physician's recommendation for medical marijuana, the conditions for which they sought treatment, and the diagnoses made by the physicians. It presents a systematic analysis of physician records and questionnaires obtained from consecutive applicants seen during a three-month period at nine medical marijuana specialty practices operating throughout the state. The analysis yields insights that may be useful for future research on medical marijuana and marijuana policy, including: 1) very few of those who sought a recommendation had cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis; 2) most applicants presented with chronic pain, mental health conditions, or insomnia; and 3) half of the applicants reported using marijuana as a substitute for prescription drugs.