The results of the largest and most comprehensive look at the impact of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Experience Study – a statewide program that has examined patients since 2012 – shows the positive impact of medical cannabis among patients and the health care industry.
Conducted by Aclara Research, the study examined 300 of the 18,000 Illinois residents registered in the study.
The study found that 86 percent of survey respondents are managing leading symptoms of chronic pain. While chronic pain is not one of the 41 qualifying conditions in Illinois, cannabis shows strong potential in treating autoimmune diseases in which chronic inflammation plays a central role.
Key findings from the study include:
- Key gender gaps within the health care system as well as medical cannabis use:
- Across Illinois patients, women are up to 50 percent more likely to suffer with leading symptoms of chronic pain including trouble sleeping, back and joint pain, body ache and anxiety.
- Eighty six percent of patients reported suffering with symptoms of chronic pain.
- While not a qualifying condition for program participation in Illinois, patients are treating the leading symptoms of chronic pain which impacts more than 130 million Americans.
- Thirty three percent of study respondents stopped using all prescription drugs after using medical cannabis and 92 percent decreased the number of prescription drugs taken.
- Applying these results to a recent study on the impact of medical cannabis on Medicaid costs, there is potential for $180 million in savings to the Illinois Medicaid program.
- Twenty two percent of patients had no previous experience with cannabis prior to entering the Illinois medical cannabis program.
- This is in stark contrast to other medical marijuana programs across the country, and is driven by women. Twenty six percent of women in Illinois reported being new to using cannabis.
- Forty seven percent of patients are using Cannabidiol (CBD) daily.
- Women lead this consumption trend, over 75 percent consume CBD daily.
- Forty nine percent of patients earn less than $40,000 annually AND spend more than $3,000 on cannabis products each year.
- Medical cannabis patients make a significant investment in their health, spending more than $3,000 each year on cannabis products -which are not covered under their health insurance.
While industry experts have labeled the Illinois program as one of the most restrictive in the country based on condition list and application requirements, the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Experience Study shows the positive benefits the pilot program has had on the lives of those suffering from the qualifying debilitating conditions, and the potential benefits to health care costs.
“We are excited to be the first to conduct the largest study of Illinois patients since the inception of the pilot program,” said Carmen Brace, Founder of Aclara Research. “We will continue to build strong partnerships within the state and other markets to provide our clients with insights that lead to consumer centric product innovation and business strategies across medical use markets.”