In June of this year (2015), PatientsLikeMe conducted a survey of 219 individuals who use medical cannabis. While the small sample size makes it imprudent to extrapolate the findings to the populace at large, the survey is notable for the uniformity of responses. Participants (60% of whom have a prescription or physician’s letter of recommendation to use cannabis) believe strongly that cannabis is effective, safe medicine. Indeed, over 70% feel cannabis is the best treatment available for their health issues and over 90% would recommend cannabis to another patient.
74% of respondents use cannabis to alleviate pain. 66% also report using it to treat insomnia or other sleep problems. Over half use cannabis to alleviate anxiety or soothe muscle stiffness/spasms.
While 55% admitted using cannabis recreationally prior to using it for medical purposes, 58% say they now use it for medicinal effects only. A solid majority opposes sharing their medical cannabis for recreational use by others.
60% turned to medical cannabis in an effort to avoid the side effects of other treatments and 63% believe cannabis is “more natural” than other treatments. The majority of participants’ healthcare providers support their patients’ use of cannabis. 75% of patients believe cannabis should be available without a prescription.
A complete list of questions and results is available for download here.
PatientsLikeMe is a network with more than 350,000 members. It facilitates communication among those with the same disease or condition. These conversations result in an expanding knowledge base monitored by researchers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and others in their efforts to develop more effective treatments.