The Utah Department of Health & Human Services is required to keep accurate data on the state’s medical cannabis program. The data is published in a quarterly report from HHS. It can tell us a lot about what is happening with medical cannabis here in our state. In fact, consider the latest numbers published in August 2023.
The first thing to jump out is that Utah’s medical cannabis program has far exceeded the expectations lawmakers and regulators had when the program started several years ago. Despite being a largely rural state and fairly conservative as well, Utah has embraced medical cannabis with open arms. Being that Beehive Farmacy operates pharmacies in both Salt Lake City and Brigham City, we could not be more pleased.
More Than 70K Patients
So where do we start? The total number of active medical cannabis users is as good a place as any. At the end of August, the number stood at 72,370. That is a lot of patients finding much-needed relief from the symptoms of their qualifying conditions.
In the August report from the state, there is a line chart that shows the growth of our medical cannabis program since January 2020. As you go through time, you notice that the number of active users accelerates. Interestingly though, there are more expirations than we would have anticipated. Over the last three years, just over 40,000 patients with active medical cannabis cards have allowed those cards to expire.
Most Active by Age Group
We are also fascinated to learn about the number of active medical cannabis users by age group. The state tracks nine different age groups starting at 13 and under and going all the way up to 71 and older. By far, the group that uses medical cannabis most often is the 31-40 age group. That group registers more than 19,000 active cardholders.
The 21-30 and 41-50 age groups are next in line, with both boasting in excess of 15,000 cardholders. The difference between them is a mere 600 patients. Following those two groups are the 51-60 and 61-70 groups.
Medical Conditions Being Treated
Next up are the medical conditions for which people are using medical cannabis. Care to guess which qualifying condition leads the pack? If you guessed chronic pain, you are spot on. Of the more than 72,000 patients with active Utah medical cannabis cards, nearly 60,000 qualify due to chronic pain.
PTSD is the second most common qualifying condition with just under 10,000 registered cardholders citing it. It is followed by nausea, cancer, and epilepsy. Multiple sclerosis (MS) and persistent muscle spasms also make the list.
Patient Delivery Method Preferences
Finally, the August report shows which delivery methods medical cannabis patients prefer. At the top of the list are medical cannabis vape cartridges. August sales topped $5.2 million across the state. Second place went to cannabis flower while the third most popular delivery method is the infused edible.
On the one hand, we are not surprised. Our own sales reflect state data. On the other hand, it is somewhat surprising that concentrates (tinctures) are not more popular with patients. But to each their own, right?
The numbers are in, and they look good. Utah’s medical cannabis program is accomplishing exactly what was intended when it first launched. If you believe you qualify for a medical cannabis card but have not yet obtained one, make an appointment to see your medical provider. With card in hand, we hope you will visit Beehive Farmacy in either Salt Lake City or Brigham City.