Medical Marijuana

Data, statistics and information about medical cannabis (marijuana).

Number of Approved Medical Cannabis Patients in the US

"Determining exactly how many patients use medical marijuana with state approval is difficult. According to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, an estimated 30,000 California patients and another 5,000 patients in eight other states possessed a physician’s recommendations to use cannabis medically.67 More recent estimates are much higher. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in August 2005, for example, that an estimated 115,000 people have obtained marijuana recommendations from doctors in the states with programs.68

Medical Cannabis Legalization and Adolescent Cannabis Use

"Indeed, all 11 states that have passed medical marijuana laws ranked above the national average in the percentage of persons 12 or older reporting past-month use of marijuana in 1999, as shown in Table 2. It is at least possible, however, that this analysis confuses cause with effect. It is logical to assume that the states with the highest prevalence of marijuana usage would be more likely to approve medical marijuana programs, because the populations of those states would be more knowledgeable of marijuana’s effects and more tolerant of its use.

Marinol (Synthetic THC

MARINOL® (dronabinol) Capsules
"After oral administration, dronabinol has an onset of action of approximately 0.5 to 1 hours and peak effect at 2 to 4 hours. Duration of action for psychoactive effects is 4 to 6 hours, but the appetite stimulant effect of dronabinol may continue for 24 hours or longer after administration.
"MARINOL Capsules is indicated for the treatment of:
"1. anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS; and

Harm Reduction and Alternative Delivery Methods for Cannabis Consumption

"The use of a vaporizing device may mitigate some of these symptoms. Cannabis vaporization is a technique aimed at suppressing the formation of irritating respiratory toxins by heating cannabis to a temperature where active cannabinoids are volatilized, but below the point of combustion where smoke and associated toxins form. The use of a vaporizer is associated with higher plasma THC concentrations than smoking marijuana cigarettes, little if any carbon monoxide production, and significantly fewer triggered respiratory symptoms."

Cannabis and Cancer Pain

"• Cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives, act in the organism by mimicking endogenous substances, the endocannabinoids, that activate specific cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids exert palliative effects in patients with cancer and inhibit tumour growth in laboratory animals.

Safety of Medical Cannabis During Treatment

"Cannabinoids have a favourable drug safety profile. Acute fatal cases due to cannabis use in humans have not been substantiated, and median lethal doses of THC in animals have been extrapolated to several grams per kilogram of body weight. Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated in animal studies and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of most conventional chemotherapeutic agents. For example, in a 2-year administration of high oral doses of THC to rats and mice, no marked histopathological alterations in the brain and other organs were found.

Substitution of Cannabis for Other Drugs

"Eighty five percent of the BPG [Berkeley Patients Group] sample reported that cannabis has much less adverse side effects than their prescription medications. Additionally, the top two reasons listed by participants as reasons for substituting cannabis for one of the substances previously mentioned were less adverse side effects from cannabis (65%) and better symptom management from cannabis (57.4%).

Uses for Medical Cannabis

"Advances in cannabinoid science of the past 16 years have given rise to a wealth of new opportunities for the development of medically useful cannabinoid-based drugs. The accumulated data suggest a variety of indications, particularly for pain relief, antiemesis, and appetite stimulation. For patients such as those with AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy, and who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication."