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Prescriptions For Medical Marijuana Skyrocket in Colorado

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Colorado for over 10 years. Up until the past couple of years, however, the number of scripts for medical grade marijuana were relatively low. Just barely over 5,000 people were able to legally access prescription marijuana two years ago. However, after an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) was published, it became widely understood that the number of registered medical marijuana recipients has had an astonishing increase over the past 24 months.

At the same time legal marijuana use is rising, illegal marijuana use is increasing as well. Over the past 3 years according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) the number of regular users of illegal marijuana has gone from 14.4million to 17.4 million people across the US.

Is Uncontrollable Pain the Reason for the Rise In Medical Marijuana Use?

Medical marijuana use in Colorado has increased a jaw-dropping 25 times over in just a couple of years. With just 5,051 registered users 2 years ago, now there is a staggering 127,816 registrants. With such a rapid escalation in medical marijuana prescriptions it begs for a look at the statistical breakdown of who is using it and why in an effort to understand what is motivating people in droves to get medical marijuana prescriptions.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that:

  • 23,209 patient applications have been rejected and rendered unable to receive a medical marijuana registry ID card since operations began in 2001
  • Nearly 70 percent of authorized registrants are male
  • Presently, there are 45 approved registrants who are under age 18
  • Over half of patients are living in the greater Denver area
  • The average age of all of those on the registry is 41 years of age
  • Two-thirds have assigned a primary care-giver who is managing their care because a medical condition has left the registrant incapacitated
  • Although a variety of conditions make someone eligible to apply for the registry, an overwhelming 94 percent of those in the database report struggling with severe pain
  • Over 1,100 doctors have written medical marijuana prescriptions in Colorado

ยท From this information it appears a typical registrant is a middle-aged male battling a debilitating medical condition that is causing extreme pain.

However, the question remains what caused such a swift rise in medical marijuana use in such a short period? If it is due to severe pain, has there been a rise in conditions with this symptom or have doctors suddenly started prescribing medical marijuana for this problem who would not have in the past? Possibly more questions than answers are created from this new information.

What are your thoughts on medical marijuana use? If you have a story or opinion on the topic, either pro or con, feel free to leave your comments below.

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