Chronic pain given as top reason for using medical marijuana

A study finds chronic pain is the most common reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs. That’s followed by stiffness from multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy-related nausea.

The study didn’t measure whether marijuana actually helped anyone with their problems. But the patients’ reasons match up with what’s known about the science of marijuana and its chemical components.

The analysis is based on 15 states that reported in 2016 the reasons cited for using marijuana. Researchers compared the reasons with a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence: a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

About 85 percent of patients’ reasons were supported by substantial or conclusive evidence in the National Academies report.

The study was published Monday in the journal Health Affairs.

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