While 15 states and the District of Columbia provide allowances for medical marijuana, little is known about the individuals who seek a physicians recommendation to use marijuana. This study provides descriptive information about 1,655 applicants in California who sought a physicians recommendation for medical marijuana, the conditions for which they sought treatment, and the diagnoses made by the physicians. It presents a systematic analysis of physician records and questionnaires obtained from consecutive applicants seen during a three-month period at nine medical marijuana specialty practices operating throughout the state. The analysis yields insights that may be useful for future research on medical marijuana and marijuana policy, including: 1) very few of those who sought a recommendation had cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis; 2) most applicants presented with chronic pain, mental health conditions, or insomnia; and 3) half of the applicants reported using marijuana as a substitute for prescription drugs.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston