TUESDAY, Feb. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Most qualifying conditions for which patients are licensed to use cannabis medically have substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy, according to a report published in the February issue of Health Affairs.
Kevin F. Boehnke, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed state registry data to provide nationwide estimates characterizing the qualifying conditions for which patients are licensed to use cannabis medically. The prevalence of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis was compared to recent evidence from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on the efficacy of cannabis for treating each condition. Registry data were available on patient numbers for 20 states and the District of Columbia; data on patient-reported qualifying conditions were available for 15 states.
The researchers found that currently and historically, the most common qualifying condition reported by medical cannabis patients was chronic pain (64.9 percent in 2016). Overall, 85.5 percent of all patient-reported qualifying conditions had substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy.
"We believe not only that it is inappropriate for cannabis to remain a Schedule I substance, but also that state and federal policy makers should begin evaluating evidence-based ways for safely integrating cannabis research and products into the health care system," the authors write.