Medical marijuana was legalized in Arizona in 2010, and the Arizona Department of Health Services has now released new data on the state’s patients.
Since its legalization, over 22,000 patients have received recommendations to ingest the drug to help with their serious ailments.
New data shows that almost 75% of the state’s medical marijuana users are male, and almost 85% of patients have requested to grow their own medical marijuana at home.
The majority of users are between the ages of 31 and 50, and patients age 51 to 81 make up 35% of the patients in the state.
In response to the age statistics, Will Humble, director of Arizona’s Department of Health Services, explained, “the fact that we’ve got an older demographic tends to make me think that we did a decent job. When you ad up the folks older than 41, it’s well over half of the participants. That doesnt mean there’s not recreational users in that group, but as you get older, you do tend to get more debilitating medical conditions, so I’m encouraged by that.”
The majority of medical marijuana users in the state reported chronic pain as their medical condition. Muscle spasms were also high on the list. Other health issues reported were hepatitis C, cancer, and seizures.
While medical marijuana supporters are pleased with the statistics, opponents of the drug are finding the statistics discouraging. Chairwoman of Keep Arizona Drug Free, Carolyn Short, believes that the data suggests most patients are faking or exaggerating their medical conditions. She also believes that the data shows that nearly all medical marijuana patients in the state are substance abusers.
Short explained, “Do I think there are people who aren’t sick who are on that list? Absolutely. I think that people out to listen to their doctors instead of drug dealers.”