Medical cannabis patients consistently report using cannabis as a substitute for prescription medications; however, little is known about individuals accessing cannabis through adult-use markets. A survey at two retail stores was conducted in Colorado, United States. Between August 2016 and October 2016, store staff asked customers if they wanted to participate and, if so, provided an electronic survey link. All customers reporting medical certification were excluded. Of 1,000 adult-use only customer respondents, 65% reported taking cannabis to relieve pain and 74% reported taking cannabis to promote sleep. Among respondents taking cannabis for pain, 80% reported that it was very or extremely helpful, and most of those taking over-the-counter pain medications (82%) or opioid analgesics (88%) reported reducing or stopping use of those medications. Among respondents taking cannabis for sleep, 84% found it very or extremely helpful, and most of those taking over-the-counter (87%) or prescription sleep aids (83%) reported reducing or stopping use of those medications. De facto medical use of cannabis for symptom relief was common among adult-use dispensary customers and the majority reported that cannabis decreased their medication use. Adult use cannabis laws may broaden access to cannabis for the purpose of symptom relief.
Let’s assume that the two Colorado dispensaries taking part in the study are typical of stores in other states. The results point up the extent of the threat to Big PhRMA posed by the medical marijuana movement. No wonder the drug companies have fought us tooth-and-nail, and continue funding neo-prohibitionist efforts today. In due course people will discover on their own that marijuana alleviates pain and promotes sleep and provides other benefits sought by millions, but many will remain on Oxy, Prozac, Xanax et al, unaware that the herb really is medicinal.
The findings also remind us that the medical marijuana movement was subsumed by “The Industry.” Nowhere was the sell-out of medical users heavier than in pwogwessive California, where Industry leaders allowed the bureaucrats to put a 15% excise tax on all cannabis sales —as if it wasn’t really a medicine after all!