Medical marijuana in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Since California first passed a proposition legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, medical marijuana has seen a rise in state and public support and has become a growing and prosperous industry. Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has now been approved for medical use in 25 states, and is used to treat symptoms associated with diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and glaucoma.


Although the topic of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes might have been considered controversial in the past, there has been an increase in evidence for the medical benefits of marijuana, such as fewer drug doses being prescribed as a result of its legalization. In addition, some of the possible negative consequences of medical marijuana legalization that were often used to argue against legalization have been found to be unsubstantiated.

Medical marijuana laws, usage, and prices vary from state to state. Not only can prices per gram differ dramatically by state there can also be significant differences in medical marijuana prices between cities within the same state. As some states have more relaxed medical marijuana laws than others, and some have even recently legalized marijuana for recreational use, the number of medical marijuana dispensaries open in each state is also quite varied. The number of medical marijuana patients and caregivers can also fluctuate depending on the state. While Colorado had a legal medical marijuana patient rate of 19.8 per 1,000 residents in 2016, Nevada had a rate of only 5. Similarly, in 2015, Oregon had approximately 36,754 caregivers registered with medical marijuana programs compared to just 3,083 in Colorado.

If current trends persist, medical marijuana will continue to grow as an industry and public support with it. According to surveys from recent years, public approval of medical marijuana has indeed increased, remaining above 77 percent since 2011. Medical marijuana patients seem to also be satisfied with the treatment they experience, with a majority reporting that they would be highly likely to recommend medical marijuana to friends or family for treatment.

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Medical marijuana in the U.S. - Important statistics

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Medical marijuana in the U.S. Infographic - The States Where It's Legal To Smoke Marijuana
U.S. Support For Legalizing Marijuana Hits All-Time High

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