J Cannabis Ther 2003(1):53-65
Medical Cannabis Use
The acceptance of medicinal marijuana in the U.S.
Dale H. Gieringer
Medical use of cannabis has become increasingly widespread due to state laws sanctioning its use. The extent of use was estimated by surveying official patient registries, private patients’ groups, and physicians specializing in cannabis medicine. As of May, 2002, five states with official registration programs reported a total of over 3,400 patients, ranging from a high of 79 patients per 100,000 population in Oregon to a low of 3 per 100,000 in Colorado. California, which lacks a statewide registration system, has the highest concentration of patients, estimated at 30,000 (89 per 100,000). The rate of usage varies widely between different regions. Some 1% of the population in Mendocino County, California, are legal cannabis patients, while Canadian surveys suggest illegal usage as high as 2%-4%. As many as 5% of registered physicians have recommended marijuana in Oregon. The widespread acceptance of medical cannabis by physicians and patients suggest that marijuana’s current Schedule I classification is obsolete.
Cannabis, medical marijuana, epidemiology