Women Are More Likely to Trade Prescribed Meds for Medical Marijuana, Study Finds
The research found that while men are more likely to have experience with weed, more women tend to decrease their traditional pharma medications when using medical cannabis.
Published on November 17, 2020

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A new study is reporting some notable differences between genders when it comes to medical marijuana. One primary difference, the study states, is that women are more likely than men to cut down on traditional medications once they start using doctor-prescribed weed. 

Additionally, the study also indicates that women use their medical cannabis to address a greater variety of health issues than men. Female participants were also less likely to have their medical marijuana use supported by either their primary care provider or by a physician specialist. 

That lack of doctor support may be a factor in why, according to the study, women were also less likely than men to reach out for further medical assistance. 

“Men report higher levels of support for [medical cannabis] use from both specialist and primary care physicians,” the study states, “while women were significantly more likely to increase use of cannabis after acquiring an [medical cannabis] card, and to discontinue prescription medications through [medical cannabis] use.”

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, was conducted by researchers at DePaul University and John Hopkins University. The researchers drew information from 361 medical marijuana patients in Illinois. 

“We summarized participants’ qualifying conditions,” the study’s authors wrote, “[as well as] symptoms treated with medical cannabis (MC), perceived physician support for MC use, use of MC and prescription medications, then analyzed differences by participant gender,” 

The results from the study describe a number of gender-associated patterns within the use and outcomes of medical cannabis among patients with chronic conditions. The study ultimately shows that “Women appear to be more likely than men to use MC for a range of symptoms (specifically, pain, anxiety, inflammation, and nausea), to have increased use of cannabis since qualifying for MC, and to subsequently have reduced or completely discontinued their prescription medications.”

These latest findings are consistent with numerous other studies that have determined that medical marijuana patients typically reduce or eliminate their use of prescription medicines, most notably opioids.

And that’s why we need legalization, people! Because, ultimately, legalization is harm reduction. It will increase access to cannabis. When weed is widely accessible, data shows that people stop using as many opioids. 

Mike McPadden
Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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