The first ever Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Experience Study has been completed. The numbers are in. 300 Illinois MCPP patients participated in a study conducted by Aclara Research. They have been a leader in the development of patient and consumer insights in the medical cannabis industry since 2016. They have already conducted comprehensive studies in other cannabis states, including Michigan, Oregon and Colorado. Despite the fact that chronic pain is still not a qualifying condition in Illinois, 86% of those surveyed indicated that they managed leading symptoms of chronic pain through medical cannabis usage. Pain is a common symptom of chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases which accounts for many of the qualifying conditions.
Clearly, this study strongly supports the need to add Chronic Pain as a qualifying condition. I know that there is currently a petition to add Chronic Pain as a new debilitating medical condition as I was an applicant in the process this past January. With over 100 million Americans living with chronic pain, adding this condition would potentially add many more patients to the rolls. More patients means more competitive pricing of medical cannabis products. In turn, more patients can adequately medicate and be contributing members of society. Dispensary owners can worry less about staying afloat and more about servicing their patients. It’s a win-win.
Here are the findings:
- Women are up to 50% more likely to suffer with back and joint pain, achiness, anxiety and sleep problems
- 35% of interviewees stopped using all prescription drugs due to medical cannabis usage. 92% were able to decrease their prescription drug usage. This could save the Illinois Medicaid program $180 million in savings. However, it is important to note that insurance does not pay for medical cannabis expenses. Patients must pay out-of-pocket. While potentially saving the state money, the burden is transferred directly to patients. Those on a fixed income due to disability often are unable to afford their medicine. Sadly, for many, they must choose between medicating or paying their bills
- 22% of all patients had never used cannabis prior to enrolling in the MCPP
- 26% of women had never used cannabis prior to enrolling in the MCPP
- 47% of all patients use CBD on a daily basis. Of those, 75% are women
- The income level for nearly half of all patients is under $40,000. The median expenditure on cannabis products is more than $3,000 per year
As of the end of May, the state of Illinois approved 24,000 patient applications. While patients are hoping that the cost of the medicine will decrease as the patient rolls grow, most patients are very happy with the quality and the effectiveness of the medical cannabis. Those able to reduce or completely eliminate their prescription drug usage have experienced a huge improvement in their quality of life. Patients no longer are incapacitated by harmful prescription drug side effects. Many are now able to do tasks and activities they have not engaged in for years. Some patients who were on disability are now able to return to the work force. For many, participating in the MCPP has been a life changing experience.
The results of the 2nd Illinois study will be released in the fall.
Source: Aclara Research May 23, 2017