Survey Finds 1 Out of 6 Americans Use Weed, Many for Medical Reasons

in Culture

One out of six primary care patients said they used marijuana in a survey of cannabis use, with many saying their use was primarily for medical reasons. The study by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles also found that a third of cannabis consumers reported weed at levels that put them at moderate or high risk of cannabis use disorder.

The research, which was published by JAMA Open Network on Wednesday, suggests that many cannabis consumers use the drug for medicinal purposes, despite characterizing their use as recreational. The researchers behind the study say the findings indicate a need for routine cannabis screenings of primary care patients. Currently, few healthcare systems offer screenings for cannabis use in the primary care setting.

“Patients may not tell their primary care providers about their cannabis use, and their doctors may not ask about it,” lead author Dr. Lillian Gelberg, professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement to UCLA Health.  “Not asking patients about their cannabis use results in a missed opportunity for opening up doctor-patient communication regarding use of cannabis generally and for management of their symptoms.”

In 2020, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that primary care physicians screen their adult patients for the use of cannabis and other substances. The following year, the researchers who conducted the study launched a self-administered survey on cannabis use and medical cannabis use as part of the UCLA Health medical system’s universal electronic health record. Patients complete the survey via the system’s online portal as part of the pre-visit screening before visits for primary care.

UCLA Health is one of only a few healthcare systems that …

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Author: A.J. Herrington / High Times

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