Study says more people are using cannabis for medical purposes than for social enjoyment

"Adults with medical conditions, especially those with respiratory conditions, cancer, and depression, were more likely to use [cannabis]," the study's authors noted in their conclusions.

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis legalization is unfolding across the United States. So far, 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized the plant for medical purposes. This figure is projected to rise as more research is carried out into the plant’s therapeutic qualities. 

Despite the fact that recreational use has also swept across 11 states, a new study has revealed that more consumers use weed to treat a medical condition/ailment, as opposed to using it for recreational purposes. 

Published last month in the JAMA Open Network, the cannabis study gleaned data from over 165,000 men and women who participated between 2016 and 2017.

Approximately 46 percent of people who participated in the cannabis consumption study claim that they rely on weed for its medical potential. This percentage is a stark contrast to the 22 percent who say that they use cannabis for social enjoyment.

Cannabis consumption study says one in four 18 to 24 year-olds use medical cannabis

Based on the outcome of this cannabis consumption study, approximately one in for young adults aged 18 to 24 years use medical cannabis. Individuals aged 65 and above constituted just two percent of those who participated in the study. Smoking appears to be the preferred method of consumption among consumers from all demographics; 77.5 percent of regular users blaze up.

The authors of the cannabis consumption study say that due to the growing acceptance of cannabis and the fact that medical conditions tend to become prevalent with old age, more mature adults could soon become regular users of the plant.

“Adults with medical conditions, especially those with respiratory conditions, cancer, and depression, were more likely to use [cannabis],” the study’s authors noted in their conclusions. “At present, [cannabis] use prevalence decreases with age, even among people with medical conditions.”

More research is needed to determine medical benefits of the plant, says the lead study author 

In spite of the positive research that is surfacing regarding cannabis’ medical properties, there is a lack of data to prove the plant’s safety and efficacy in the medical field. This is according to the study’s lead researcher and associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Hongying Dai. 

“Patients who are taking [cannabis] for a medical condition should be informed of evidence of efficacy and adverse effects for that condition,” Dai said during an interview with the U.S. News & World Report.

Developments in research are certainly transpiring across North America. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced that it would be processing medical cannabis research applications that have been left on the back-burner for months. What’s more, the World Health Organization (WHO) has prompted the government to reschedule cannabis and make way for research to ensue.