The number of potential conditions, illnesses, and symptoms treated by cannabis seems to be uncapped, slowed, or errored only for lack of access to research dollars. A continued fight at the federal level prevents much of the research and grant funding that other potential medical treatments received. Research is growing and changing the wider U.S. cultural understanding and, at some level, it is easing access to useful information regarding cannabis science for the public.
Each medical marijuana patient has their own story, their struggle and reason behind why marijuana use could/will help their health predicament. Their story always begins with a search for a medical marijuana doctor.
Medical Marijuana Trends and Observations
Over the past few decades, medical marijuana has a found a place within many U.S. states and foreign countries. While the whole world does not currently share the belief that marijuana use CAN result in positive outcomes, increases in public support of mmj would suggest that society is ready for a different approach.
This is where it gets tricky. At the same time that there are legitimate patients, some view medical marijuana as a method to challenge the status quo within society. The medical marijuana doctor, in this equation, acts as the keyholder, an arbiter for health, and protector of public/individual welfare.
Each state has different requirements for which medical professional can issue medical marijuana recommendations, yet, generally speaking, all patients must create a bona fide relationship with a recommending health professional. In some states, this can be done in a single annual visit regarding care. In others, this could mean as much as three (3) months worth of visits. Additionally, many states require minors under 18 to be evaluated by two (2) medical professionals.
Additionally, each state has different qualifying conditions a medical professional may recommend marijuana for. Though broad in scope, qualifying conditions provide the state with a count of patients within a medical marijuana program suffering from a particular condition. These numbers are used in statistics, industry research, and even for investigation – to find doctors, medical professionals, and patients who are breaking the law.
For instance, in 2016 officials from Colorado arrested four (4) medical marijuana doctors for abusing their ability to write allowances for high plant counts. As reported by the Denver Post, the four doctors issued 1,500+ patients medical marijuana registrations allowing them to grow 75 or more plants. In Colorado, the official plant count for medical marijuana patients is six (6).
In June 2016, the DEA released a publication discussing the various hazards of having plant counts as high as 99 or having no formal limit on how many plants could be grown within a single residence. Among the concerns were drug organizations using the high plant counts as a cover for drug trafficking to other states. Doing this implies a particular portion of recreational consumers and medical patients fall victim to the high profits made out of state by exporting a product out of state.
Finding medical marijuana doctors varies based on your location. By searching medical marijuana patient data in five (5) states across the U.S., a trend appeared to answer why an individual sought out a medical marijuana doctor.
People Search for Medical Marijuana Doctors to:
1.) Help Ease the Pain
Every so often, the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine does a meta-analysis (a study of thousands of studies) on the potential benefits and risks of cannabis, commenting on areas where research should be focused. Most recently, the Academies have published – based on over 10,000 studies – that there is strong and conclusive evidence medical marijuana helps with chronic pain.
In Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and Minnesota, more than 65% of all patients were given access to medical marijuana by a doctor or other medical professional for chronic, severe, or intractable pain.
2.) Stop Muscle Spasms
There are some conditions, illnesses, and ailments producing muscle spasms of one kind or another. Marijuana use is associated with helping reduce or prevent muscle spasms by interfering with information signaling in the body telling the muscles to spasm.
In Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and Minnesota, spasm-causing conditions make up the roughly 20% of the total medical marijuana patient population.
3.) Help Ease the Pain
Not every state, even the most forward-thinking of them, have included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition under state medical marijuana laws. Colorado, for instance, added the condition to their marijuana program in June 2017.
The interaction between the endocannabinoid system and various neurotransmitter sites help to calm the excitatory transmission and signal the panic to slow or end, all while helping with mood and sleep.
In New Mexico, the number of patients with PTSD is more than those with severe pain. In both Nevada and Oregon, the number of patients with PTSD makes up nearly 8% of the total patient population.
4.) Fight Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the US, so the fight is battled in any way possible. For those who have good health insurance or significant revenue streams, undergoing cancer treatment may be easier to achieve than someone who has insurance, but they don’t cover certain procedures. The out of pocket expense for cancer treatment in the U.S. can add tens of thousands of dollars of medical expenses to the yearly budget of the sick and hurt cancer patients around the country.
Except in Minnesota, where cancer patients make up 13% of the total patient population, every other state researched had 6.5% or less of their entire population using marijuana to treat cancer.
Thanks to research and trial, cannabis emerges as an alternative.