Linswritings

Is there a gender gap of users of “medical” marijuana?

Posted on: March 13, 2011

According to an article in the Denver Post, at least 70% of Colorado’s medical marijuana users are male. But the increase in the number of users is more astounding. Between January 2009 and June 2010 — the most recent month for which statistical breakdowns are available — the registry added more than 90,000 people, jumping from about 5,000 patients to more than 95,000. The state estimates there are currently around 120,000 people on the registry, about 2 percent of the state’s total population.

These so-called “patients” – at least 94% of them – claim that they need “medical” marijuana for “severe pain.” This claim grew from 87% from when statistics were taken during a year and half period. During the same stretch, cancer, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS all saw their proportions on the registry shrink. One statistic didn’t change. Men always made up far more of the registry than women. Not once during the 18 months did men make up less than 70 percent of medical-marijuana patients.

The people in the state health department are scratching their heads to try to figure out the reason for this. Do you think the increase in numbers is due to the availability of marijuana along with any type of excuse to obtain marijuana? How can a doctor tell for sure if a patient is in “severe pain” or just faking it so they can smoke dope?

In addition, in an article recently published in the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis notes that 73 percent of Californians seeking medical-marijuana recommendations are men. The gap also occurs in recreational marijuana use, where the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 63 percent of regular marijuana users were men. In Europe, a 2005 report noted that adult men were more likely to have used marijuana than adult women in every European Union country.

The article concludes that there have always been a stigma attached to marijuana use for women and it is a very socio-cultural situation. What is so remarkable about this article is that the state department of health is focusing on the gender gap instead of the real reason – or lame excuses – for the increase in patient use.

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