The use of cannabis as a form of medical treatment has been legalized in a number of state across our nation for several years now. However, up until this time we have yet to see any complete reports regarding such details as the medical conditions in which patients are treating with cannabis, their frequency of use, the demographics of those registered to legally consume cannabis for medical purposes, and other particulars of the like. But, the folks over at Hello MD, a company that helps patients gain access to physicians online via live video for medical consultations, and medical marijuana recommendations, conducted just such a survey in January of this year that they believe to be “the largest (and most comprehensive) medical marijuana patient survey conducted to date.”
Just to give their endeavor a bit of scope, Hello MD, according to their website, “is the largest community of patients using medical marijuana for health & wellness in the country.” The company reached out to over “17,000 patients with 1400 responding within 7 days”, which is roughly 8.2 percent.
The company’s survey strived to determine the answers to such points as:
- Patient demographics
- Benefits or side effects experienced
- How patients use cannabis, in respect to dosage, frequency, and particular mode of consumption
- Reasons for use, in terms of medical conditions
- The changing of social perceptions for using cannabis as a medicine, with family, friends, and the public’s viewpoint
- Purchasing habits of patients, what they prefer to spend, and their source of information about the medicine they’re buying
The study in question was carried out online, and surveyed state registered medical marijuana patients between the ages of 18 and 80. The survey’s participants were asked to complete a list of 31 queries, with the questionnaire composed of either binary choices (e.g. Indica or Sativa, chronic pain or cancer, etc.) or multiselect type questions. The survey also included a concluding text box in order for patients to leave comments. The company collected the survey’s data over a period of seven days.
What were the end results?
Some of the study’s pivotal discoveries are quite telling, especially in regards to what one’s received idea of what a typical medical marijuana patient may be. In other words, it turns out the medical marijuana community is not completely comprised of the stereotypical ‘stoners’, as the opposition would lead you to believe.
In fact, according to the survey’s findings, the majority of “patients (84%) had some form of college education with 14% having completed postgraduate work.” The study also found that “61% were between the ages of 25 and 54 years with 17% being over the age of 55.” Anxiety topped the list of reasons why patients choose to use marijuana as a medicine, with pain and stress filling out the second and third spots. Cancer came in around the middle of the list, while back pain and insomnia rounded out the top five reasons patients consume cannabis. One of the study’s imperative findings is that patients “are using cannabis for symptomatic relief
of a whole host of medical complaints, from the seriously ill, to more everyday complaints like anxiety, stress and insomnia. Almost without exception the experience is overwhelmingly positive, with 85% reporting significant efficacy for treating their medical concerns, 76% reporting increased relaxation, 77% stating that it ‘enhances their mood in a positive way’.” In regards to consumer preferences, the survey found that “71% of people still favor smoking cannabis, and 66% enjoy vaporizing it,” and that marijuana infused foodstuffs “make up 48% of the market with tinctures and topicals at 16% and 13% respectively.”
“Cannabis use has been extremely beneficial to me. It has helped me quit drinking and keep my diet in check. I do not like to take pills and have had problems with sleeping pill addiction. Cannabis provides me with better relief from insomnia and pain without the side effects of pills.”
When it comes to how much patients are willing to spend on cannabis products, the survey shows that, in general, “women tend to spend less than men (26% vs 20%) at $50 level, with men spending more than women at the $150+ level (29% vs 23%).”
The study also examined how the social perceptions of cannabis use are changing in our country’s public view, largely due to the fact that there is seemingly an increased acceptance of cannabis as a legitimate alternative form of medicine.
The survey’s data shows that included in “those that use medical marijuana, 82% are open with family members about their use with 44% strongly agreeing. 15% still hide their use from family members (perhaps their children, although this is unclear from our data).” And when it comes to whether or not medical marijuana patients would endorse using cannabis as a medicine to family and friends, the survey found that “96% of people that use medical marijuana are either highly likely, or somewhat likely to recommend its use to friends and family.”
What’s the windup?
In conclusion, the study’s data “indicates overwhelmingly positive results reported for the treatment of chronic pain, stress, anxiety and insomnia (among others).” With additional benefits including “mood elevation, relaxation and its use as a replacement for alcohol.” Furthermore, Hello MD believes that cannabis “has the ability to really make an impact on the betterment of society.”