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An Analysis of Applicants Presenting to a Medical Marijuana Specialty Practice in California
Journal of Drug Policy Analysis (2011)
  • Helen Nunberg
  • Beau Kilmer, Rand Corporation
  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Rand Corporation
  • James Burgdorf, Rand Corporation

While 15 states and the District of Columbia provide allowances for medical marijuana, little is known about the individuals who seek a physician’s recommendation to use marijuana. This study provides descriptive information about 1,655 applicants in California who sought a physician’s 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.

Publication Date
Citation Information
Helen Nunberg, Beau Kilmer, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and James Burgdorf. "An Analysis of Applicants Presenting to a Medical Marijuana Specialty Practice in California" Journal of Drug Policy Analysis Vol. 4 Iss. 1 (2011)
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