According to the latest numbers from the Marijuana Business Daily, one condition is responsible for a staggering 64.2 percent of medical marijuana prescriptions in the U.S.: chronic and severe pain.
The National Institute of Health defines chronic pain as "any pain lasting more than 12 weeks [and which] may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness."
"Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person's movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair."
The MBD looked at the data for approximately 400,000 patients in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oregon (the only states that make available the number of medical marijuana patients by condition), and found the vast majority of prescriptions were issued for chronic pain, followed by muscle spasms, severe nausea, cancer, and PTSD. It's estimated that there are about 1.5 million MMJ patients nationwide.
Given the overwhelming number of MMJ prescriptions issued for chronic pain, one thing is clear: adding it a state's list of qualifying conditions can be a game-changer not only for patients, but for the industry's bottom line.