Cover: An Analysis of Applicants Presenting to a Medical Marijuana Specialty Practice in California

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 on January 01, 2011

by Helen Nunberg, Beau Kilmer, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, James R. Burgdorf

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.

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