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2020 to 2022 Saw Increase in Enrollment in Medical Cannabis Programs

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Proportion of patient-reported qualifying conditions with substantial, conclusive evidence of therapeutic value decreased

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) — From 2020 to 2022, there was an increase in enrollment in medical cannabis programs but a decrease in jurisdictions with nonmedical adult-use laws, according to a study published online April 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Kevin F. Boehnke, Ph.D., from the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues describe current trends in medical cannabis licensure in the United States in an ecological study with repeated measures.

Thirty-nine jurisdictions allowed medical cannabis use in 2022; 34 reported patient numbers, 19 reported patient-qualifying conditions, and 29 reported authorizing clinician numbers. The researchers found that enrolled patients increased 33.3 percent, from 3,099,096 in 2020 to 4,132,098 in 2022, with a corresponding increase of 23.0 percent in the population prevalence of patients (175.0 to 215.2 per 10,000 patients). Decreased enrollment was seen in 13 of 15 jurisdictions with nonmedical adult-use laws. From 2020 to 2022, the proportion of patient-reported qualifying conditions with substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic value decreased from 70.4 to 53.8 percent. The most common patient-reported qualifying condition in 2022 was chronic pain, followed by anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (48.4, 14.2, and 13.0 percent, respectively).

“Improved reporting efforts from states on patient characteristics (such as cannabis use patterns and length of use) as well as clinician credentials and training may help enhance understanding of this rapidly shifting medical cannabis use landscape,” the authors write.

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