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5.7 Million Medical Cannabis Users in the US by 2030: New Frontier Data Reveals

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New Frontier Data recently released their annual projections for the cannabis industry. This report highlighted several key findings and projections for the next phase of the industry. With the activation of new market in 9 states, the U.S is likely to have a total of 5.7 million medical cannabis patients by 2030. This is the equivalent of 1.6% of the adult population in the U.S. You can click this link to download a free copy of the 2022 New Frontier Data Report.

It goes without saying that the use of cannabis for medical purposes has skyrocketed in recent years. Though it is taken for many conditions, the most common use of cannabis for medical purposes is its effectiveness in pain control. While it doesn’t serve as a painkiller for severe pain such as broken bones and post-surgical management, it is very effective in the chronic pain that seems to plague millions of Americans, especially with age. Part of the reason why it is gaining traction is that it is safer than opiates due to the fact that it is far less addictive, non-sedating, and impossible to overdose. It can also be taken in place of NSAIDs like Aleve and Advil which are risky for people suffering from ulcers, kidney issues and GERD.

In the year 2021, the number of medical cannabis patients from across the nation exceeded 4.4 million. As more people turn to natural remedies for their ailments and shun or supplement conventional medicine, the projection for growth, even without new markets, by the year 2030 is estimated at 5.7 million for registered medical cannabis patients. This will be close to 2% of the entire American population. It is anticipated that strong upticks will be seen in legal medicals states that border states with newly legalized adult-use.

Medical cannabis refers to the use of cannabinoids which are prescribed by physicians and doctors for relieving symptoms of or treating diseases. Initial studies have indicated that cannabis also reduces the nausea and vomiting which are primary side effects caused by chemotherapy. It can also improve appetite who are suffering from HIV/AIDS and other ailments and alleviate chronic pain as well as muscle spasms.

While a good number of Americans currently live in a state that has a legal medical market, specific state regulations still apply. The level of participation is influenced by restricted lists of qualifying conditions, program participation costs, product limitations, product taxation, and retail access, among others. These factors in totality determine the amount of success a state program will have in growth and effectiveness.

Particularly, the range of qualifying medical conditions that each state permits determines how many patients can participate in the legal medical market of that state. States that permit lists which have broader conditions will generally attract greater use than states which limit the number of conditions that qualify under their medical cannabis programs. An example of this could be markets that are restricted to cancer or other terminally ill patients.

This recognition has led to the expansion of initially restrictive medical plans to accommodate a broader list of qualifying ailments and include conditions such as chronic pain. These conditions have a higher incidence in the population, thus increasing program sales. The newer legal medical markets are encouraging a broader spectrum of medical practitioners to recommend cannabis for a wider array of diverse qualifying conditions. As we have mentioned earlier, older programs commonly approved medical marijuana for terminal illnesses, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and glaucoma. Although these conditions are still key in medical cannabis use, newer markets have expanded greatly to include conditions such as PTSD, Anorexia, Migraines, Autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer’s, and anxiety disorders. Additionally, there is a growing research body that suggests cannabis may hold promise in the mitigation of overdoses and opioid dependence and in this regard, a number of states have turned to medical cannabis to countermeasure the crippling opioid crisis.

Some states do this by indirectly including chronic pain on their list of qualifying conditions while others allow patients with opioid prescriptions to automatically qualify for medical cannabis.

While many states allow the citizenry to petition for qualifying conditions with a number growing their lists considerably in this way, the onus lies on the physicians to prescribe medical cannabis for the conditions they are treating. This has been a great catalyst for expanding medical cannabis programs.

A state that has benefited from granting physicians latitude is Oklahoma aka Oklahoma’s Green Rush. It’s medical program has experienced explosive growth in the past few years, currently featuring by a wide margin the nation’s highest “patient participation rate’. Though there are other factors that have contributed to the participation in Oklahoma’s medical market such as other minimal regulatory barriers to entry like the absence of license caps, as well as overall easy access to retail dispensaries, physicians have played a huge role in the growth of its medical cannabis market.

While the use of cannabis remains a hotly contested topic in some certain circles, there is no stopping its growth as people seek safer alternatives for managing and treating their medical conditions.

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Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.

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