U.S. Trends: Medical vs Recreational Marijuana Use

A recent report by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, a California-based research firm, says that 76% of U.S. doctors approve the use of medical marijuana by their patients, and 92% of those patients say it alleviated the symptoms of their medical condition. The statistics published by them are based on data processed in September 2016 covering 23 states that had legalized marijuana for medical use at that time. Since then, five more states have been added to the list, but data from those locations has yet to be collected.

Top Conditions Treated

According to the Statistic Brain research, the top conditions treated by medical marijuana are:

Chronic Pain 36.9 % of users
Arthritis 14.5 % of users
Migraine 12.1 % of users
Cancer 10.1 % of users

Legal Users Demographics

At the time of the research, there were 1,137,069 legal users of medical marijuana, roughly half of them in California. Five percent of adults in that state reported using marijuana for medical conditions. The highest percent of users are white (8.6%), followed by 7.8% of African Americans. Use by Asian, Pacific Islander, or Others is 5.9%, and Hispanic/Latino use is 4.3%.

Sales Tax Revenue, Statistics and Trends

Both Colorado and Washington, two states where both medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal, reported sales tax revenue from marijuana sales of over $60 million. In Colorado, the only state for which such statistics were given, medical marijuana sales were just under $327 million, representing 57% of total sales. Given that prices for recreational marijuana are higher there than prescription buys, it can be inferred that a significant majority of the volume of marijuana sold in Colorado is, at least ostensibly, for medical use.

While statistics on marijuana use are still spotty and trends are mostly short-term, it is evident that the use of cannabis and its derivatives, such as cannabidiol (CBD), have gained widespread acceptance in the medical community. As research continues, it is likely to grow as new treatments that are less dangerous than many drugs, especially opioids, are discovered.

For a closer look at the statistics, you can read the full Statistic Brain report online.

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