Before marijuana’s prohibition in 1937, it played a large role in the US pharmaceutical industry. Routinely, it was prescribed in the early to mid 1900’s due to the fact it was not under controlled substance regulation or prohibited.
Once the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937, cannabis became heavily taxed but not truly illegal. Within 4 years, the American pharmaceutical market grew tired of these hefty taxes, and cannabis was taken off the market. Once the 1970’s rolled around, marijuana became a Schedule 1 narcotic and officially illegal to prescribe.
Sixteen states have legalized marijuana medicinally, and for various conditions. California, for instance, has the most lax rules with what medicinal marijuana can be recommended and ID cards received. Forty six percent of CA voters actually said yes recently to outright legalization. Medical marijuana has been legal in CA since 1996.
In a recent survey of two thousand individuals at multiple California cannabis evaluation clinics, there were quite a few medical conditions the patients had. Sixteen percent, for instance, had a sleeping disorder, and thirty one percent had chronic pain in the neck, back, or spine. Depression and anxiety added up to 13 percent. Out of all the patients, 80% reported utilizing traditional medications (typically narcotics) before cannabis.
The fact they were using traditional prescription medications might argue against a patient faking, but even those individuals can trick the system to acquire narcotic prescriptions. The individuals were then asked if they had smoked marijuana recreationally before receiving medical cards, with forty percent saying yes. Studies have interestingly shown that about thirty percent of opiate patients sell or trade their prescriptions with the numbers spanning all socioeconomic classes.
Most states necessitate a review of a person’s medical records and a physical exam in person for the debilitating condition. If a patient has Crohn’s disease in a state that has legal medical marijuana for Crohn’s, there should be some medical records for it. If none exist, a workup should commence for it to ensure the disease is present before approval for medical cannabis.
So it is not exactly clear how many medical marijuana patients are faking. Based on the CA survey, we do not have a clear number. Considering the sheer number of patients in the US who doctor shop for narcotics and become illegitimate patients, if it’s any way equivalent the number may be over 20%. This is speculation.
One thing is certain though. Despite the illegitimate patients receiving ID cards, it is also apparent that medical marijuana represents a valid treatment than some of the more conventional existing treatments for numerous conditions. There are less side effects and often an ability to decrease the more harsh side effects of traditional medications by decreasing dosages.