US medical cannabis programmes see four-fold enrollment increase

US medical cannabis programmes see four-fold enrollment increase
Cannabis Health News

An observational study has found that the number of patients enrolled in medical cannabis programmes in the US increased four-fold between 2016 and 2020. The trend has been driven by a combination of new medical cannabis laws in 35 states, expanded qualifying conditions and increased enrollment nationally. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Since 1996, 37 states have legalised the use of medical cannabis and 18 have legalised the use of recreational cannabis for adults. The ongoing conflict between state legalisation and federal restriction creates medical and legal uncertainty for both users and clinicians. Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School analysed medical cannabis programme registry data from Washington DC and 35 states to describe recent trends in medical cannabis licensure in the United States. The authors found that between 2016 and 2020, the national number of patients enrolled in medical cannabis programmes increased from 678,408 in 2016 to 2,974,433 in 2020. Chronic pain was the most common patient-reported qualifying condition, accounting for 60.6 per cent of all available data. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the second most common patient-reported qualifying condition, accounting for 10.6 per cent of total data. The authors note that these conditions were more common in medical-only states, while states allowing recreational use reported comparably higher percentages of patients reporting multiple sclerosis, arthritis and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The authors also found that use for conditions or symptoms without a strong evidence basis increased from 15.4 per cent (2016) to 31.8 per cent (2020). According to the authors, their findings highlight the value of aligned federal and state cannabis regulation. They note that changing the federal schedule 1 designation for cannabis would provide opportunities to create regulation that would improve state policies and labelling and potency testing, clarify legal and medical discrepancies,…

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