The Reasons People Use Medical Cannabis May Surprise You

It is generally accepted that chronic pain is the number one reason U.S. patients use Medical Cannabis. But when you break the data down state-by-state, you discover that there are many other reasons above and beyond chronic pain. Furthermore, chronic pain is not even the prevailing reason in some states. Look at the data in detail and you may be surprised.

The Cannigma, an Israeli research organization that specializes in cannabis issues, recently published a post citing data from a study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research. That study investigated nearly three dozen Medical Cannabis clinics in five different states to determine what patients were citing as their reasons for using cannabis.

They then went ahead and did their own study looking at five different states across the country. Surprisingly, the top few reasons patients cited for using Medical Cannabis were not consistent across all ten states. Why that seems to be the case is not clear.

Chronic Pain a Big Reason

Chronic pain is a big reason for using Medical Cannabis. It was the number one reason cited by patients in Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Arkansas. For the record, chronic pain is classified as pain that lasts for three months or more. It can occur daily or nearly every day.

This part of the data probably isn’t surprising to you. We hear about people using Medical Cannabis to deal with chronic pain all the time. It is the most common qualifying condition for Medical Cannabis patients in Utah. But what about the other reasons? Is there anything else that competes with chronic pain in terms of sheer numbers?

PTSD, Cancer, and Anxiety

A significant number of Medical Cannabis users rely on the drug to help manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The disorder occurs in people who have experienced some sort of traumatic event. For whatever reason, their brains are unable to successfully deal with memories of that event in such a way as to allow patients to live their lives unaffected by it.

It turns out that PTSD is the most-cited reason for using Medical Cannabis in Connecticut. It also tops the list in New Mexico, while coming in second place in Arkansas and third place in Oregon.

Treating anxiety was the most common reason cited in Massachusetts. Anxiety is the second most cited reason in Maine and Connecticut. Overall, anxiety was the number two reason cited by patients in the Journal of Cannabis Research study.

Cancer also ranks high on the list. In some cases, cancer patients use cannabis to help deal with the nausea and vomiting associated with treatment. Other times, it is a treatment for cancer pain. Unfortunately, cancer patients experience pain as a result of both the disease and its treatment. Many consider Medical Cannabis a lifeline.

Between You and Your Provider

We cannot speak to the laws in other states, but we do know that Utah has a well-defined list of qualifying conditions for which Medical Cannabis is appropriate. Our main priority here at is helping patients obtain their Medical Cannabis Cards. We are owned and operated by the Utah Therapeutic Health Center, an organization that operates six clinics throughout the state.

Our position is that your reasons for using Medical Cannabis are between you and your QMP. No one else needs to know. Should you decide to share that information, that is your choice. But as long as your condition is on the state list and Medical Cannabis is an appropriate way to treat it, we can help you get your card.

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Published January 25, 2022

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