The state of Utah periodically surveys medical cannabis users to better understand our program, who utilizes it, and how they are doing so. You can find the surveys published on the state website for medical cannabis. They are filled with fascinating information we think is well worth reading.
The most recently published was the November 2022 cannabis survey. As always, it didn’t disappoint. We would like to demonstrate as much by discussing five fascinating statistics from that survey.
1. Reports of Symptom Improvement
To us, the most important statistic from the November survey is this: 90% of respondents reported symptom improvement in relation to the condition for which they use medical cannabis. That is huge. How many other medical therapies have such a high rate of symptom improvement. We don’t know for sure, but it is difficult to believe that 90% is average.
Given that chronic pain is the most often cited qualifying condition, the November survey demonstrates that a lot of chronic pain patients are feeling better. That is what matters most in all of this.
2. Fewer Seizures Among Affected Patients
Many medical cannabis users in Utah consume the drug to help with seizure disorders. Truth be told, managing seizure disorders was one of the very first documented uses of medical cannabis. At any rate, 79% of the respondents affected by seizure disorders reported fewer seizures as a result of cannabis therapy.
As a side note, there are only two FDA-approved cannabis-based drugs currently on the market. Both are designed to treat seizure disorders. Cannabis absolutely does work, and clinical trials prove it. No one should be surprised to learn that cannabis patients are suffering fewer seizures.
3. A Decrease in Other Prescription Meds
Next up, 55% of the survey respondents said they had decreased the use of other prescription medications as a result of using cannabis. Some of the medications mentioned in the report were Adderall, oxycodone, gabapentin, and clonazepam.
If you’ve kept up with the news of people decreasing their use of prescription opioids after beginning medical cannabis therapy, you know how important this is. Medical cannabis is considerably safer than so many other prescription drugs it can replace.
4. Affordability Is Still a Problem
Despite more than a dozen licensed medical cannabis pharmacies in Utah, 58% of the survey respondents admit to considering purchasing cannabis products from other sources. Of that number, 66% said that cost is the biggest issue.
We have known for some time that affordability is a problem in Utah. Steps have been taken to bring costs down, but far too many people still cannot afford their medications. We must do a better job of changing that. Here’s hoping Utah lawmakers are open to suggestions. If you have one, let it be known.
5. Urban Consumption Prevails
Finally, most registered medical cannabis users reside in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Davis counties. This isn’t to say that rural patients aren’t using cannabis as well. It is simply to say that most registered users reside in urban areas in those three counties. This actually isn’t surprising.
One of the motivating factors encouraging state lawmakers to enact the limited medical provider (LMP) program and allow statewide delivery was the disparity between urban and rural medical cannabis card registrations. Lawmakers have come to realize that they need to do something about rural accessibility.
The November 2022 cannabis survey is packed full of great information from medical cannabis users. Though there are a small number of not-so-good statistics in the report, most of it is particularly good. It is good for patients, the industry, and Utah as a whole.