Unlike medical cannabis programs, adult use markets in areas where cannabis is legal to purchase for the general adult population don’t require consumers to register and, therefore, make cannabis available to more individuals. A ramification, however, is that while the use of cannabis by registered medical cannabis patients is well documented and understood, little is known about cannabis usage by those who purchase it through adult use dispensaries. To address this gap in knowledge, a group of physicians at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center conducted a survey at two retail stores in Colorado, United States.
Of the 1,000 non-medical customers, 65% reported taking cannabis to relieve pain and 74% reported taking cannabis to promote sleep. Among respondents who purchased cannabis for pain management, 80% indicated that it was very or extremely helpful, and most of those previously taking over-the-counter pain medications or opioid analgesics reported reducing or quitting these medications. Similarly, among those using cannabis for sleep quality improvement, 84% found it very or extremely helpful, and most of those taking over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids reported reducing or stopping use of those medications after beginning cannabis use.
In brief, common purposes of cannabis consumption among adult-use dispensary customers include pain management and sleep promotion, which indeed are its major medical applications. Moreover, the majority of consumers reported that cannabis was effective for such purposes and hence decreased their medication use.