The results are in: Here's who's using medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, and why | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The results are in: Here's who's using medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, and why

Pennsylvania's medical marijuana has been operating for almost two years, with new patients joining every day. Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said the state had 153,000 patients, up from 70,000 in January 2019.

A new survey from Compassionate Certification Centers shows who those patients are, why they are using medical marijuana, and how they have rated Pennsylvania’s program so far.

Pennsylvania has 23 qualifying conditions that are applicable to the state’s medical marijuana program. According to the survey, the two most commonly cited conditions were chronic pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). About 37% of patients use marijuana to treat chronic pain and 24% use it to treat PTSD. Opioid-use disorder was a distant third, with about 12% of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana patients.


The survey was offered to 17,000 patients and received more than 2,000 replies. Surveys were taken from a two-month period in late 2019 and released through CannaBot, an app used by medical marijuana patients. Anxiety was added to the list of qualifying conditions on July 20, 2019, but it did not appear in the survey answers.
click to enlarge Qualifying condition responses for Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients - COURTESY OF COMPASSIONATE CERTIFICATION CENTERS
courtesy of Compassionate Certification Centers
Qualifying condition responses for Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients

Preferred methods of ingesting medical cannabis were about 46 percent oral (pills, etc) and about 44% inhalation and vaping. Patients also appear to be taking medication throughout the day. More than 41% of users use medical marijuana 2-5 times a day, and more than 15% take medication 5-10 times a day. About 37% use marijuana just twice a day. More than 39% use the recommended dose of the pharmacist.

Demographics of Pennsylvania medical marijuana users were also revealed, and Generation X made up the bulk of the users. Patients between the ages of 45-54 years old made up 31%, and those between the ages of 35-44 made up 30% (Gen X is comprised of people ages 40-54). Some of those users are older millennials, but younger millennials (25-34) only made up 3%. Patients between the ages of 55-74, aka Baby Boomers, comprised of 31% of users.

According to the survey, 86% of patients were white, 5% were American Indian, and 4% were Black; 49% were female, and 42% male.

Respondents with a two-year college degree made up 42% of users, and those with only high school degrees made up 22%. Those with four-year college degrees or greater made up 33% of users.


Overall satisfaction with the state’s medical marijuana program is high. More than 76% rated their overall satisfaction between 8-10 out of 10, and 19% rate the program 5-7 out of 10.

The survey appears to confirm what some dispensaries have been saying about a supply shortage of marijuana products. Only about 20 percent say the dispensary had the product they wanted in stock, compared to 39% saying dispensaries usually had their preferred product, and 35% saying sometimes, and about 4% saying never.
click to enlarge COURTESY OF COMPASSIONATE CERTIFICATION CENTERS
courtesy of Compassionate Certification Centers
The paper's authors, Dr. Bryan Doner of Compassionate Certification Centers and Christina DiArcangelo of Affinity BioPartners, say the survey should help the state’s medical marijuana program with its growth.

“The goal of this retrospective Pennsylvania patient data collection analysis was to gather information, from a patient-based perspective, regarding the Pennsylvania State Medical Marijuana program from its inception through late 2019,” reads the study. “This information and data, provided directly by the patients the state medical marijuana program is serving, is paramount to the programs continued success and growth.”

The full paper is shown below.

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