Study: Most "recreational" cannabis is used medicinally anyway
A new study from the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs says that even people who buy marijuana for recreational purposes end up using it for medicinal purposes. A team from New York’s Montefiore Medical Center interviewed recreational customers at Colorado dispensaries, and found that of 1,000 cannabis users who were supposedly purchasing for recreational use, 74% used cannabis to help them sleep better, and 65% were using cannabis to relieve pain. In fact, the majority of users surveyed not only used cannabis for medicinal purposes, but they actually stopped taking other medicines for the same reasons, including sleeping pills and over-the-counter painkillers.
Those are pretty interesting findings, and they definitely blur the lines between what we consider recreational and medicinal use. The study does caution that even though users are purchasing cannabis for medicinal reasons, there’s still a lot of research to be done in terms of how cannabis actually affects the body — it might be being used as a placebo in some cases, and of course the novelty of the drug being legal probably also affects perceptions and uses. A lot of states, however, have treated the line between medicinal and recreational cannabis as pretty sacred, but this study suggests it’s a lot more blurry than people might realize. Hopefully, as cannabis continues to legalize around the US and elsewhere, we’ll be able to do more research into how the drug works and what it can be reliably used for.