Report: Legal Cannabis Industry Responsible For 150,000 Full Time Jobs
Seattle, WA: The legal cannabis industry is responsible for the creation of an estimated 150,000 full-time jobs, according to state-by-state data.
Their analysis identified 149,304 full-time jobs supported by the legal marijuana industry. Not all of the jobs included in the tally involved direct contact with the plant, as ancillary businesses like consultants and hydroponics providers were also included.
The total represents a 22 percent increase in the number of full-time cannabis-related jobs created within the past 12 months.
States reporting the largest number of cannabis-related jobs were California (47,711) Colorado (26,891), and Washington (26,556).
Study: Medical Cannabis Registrants Reduce Their Prescription Drug Use
Albuquerque, NM: Chronic pain patients enrolled in a statewide medical marijuana program are more likely to reduce their use of prescription drugs than patients who don't use cannabis, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.
Investigators from the University of New Mexico evaluated prescription drug use patterns over a 24-month period in 83 pain patients enrolled in the state's medical cannabis program compared to 42 non-enrolled patients. Researchers reported that, on average, program registrants significantly reduced their prescription drug intake while non-registrants diagnosed with similar conditions did not.
Specifically, 34 percent of registered patients eliminated their use of prescription drugs altogether by the study's end, while an additional 36 percent of participants used fewer medications by the conclusion of the sample period.
"Legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations," authors concluded. "[A] shift from prescriptions for other scheduled drugs to cannabis may result in less frequent interactions with our conventional healthcare system and potentially improved patient health."
A pair of studies published in the journal Health Affairs previously reported that medical cannabis access is associated with lower Medicaid expenditures and reduced spending on Medicare Part D approved prescription medications.
Separate studies have reported that patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their intake of opioids, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, migraine-related medications, and sleep aids, among other controlled substances.
Full text of the study, "Effects of legal access to cannabis on Schedule II-V drug prescriptions," appears in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.
Medical Students Ill Prepared To Discuss Medical Marijuana
St. Louis, MO: Medical students are rarely provided with educational information specific to the medicinal use of cannabis and are ill equipped to discuss the issue with their patients, according to survey data published in the journal Drugs and Alcohol Dependence.
Investigators from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis surveyed medical school deans and residents and evaluated curriculum databases to assess the degree of education physicians-in-training receive on the topic of medical marijuana.
Authors reported: "Over 75 percent of medical school curriculum deans reported that their graduates are not at all prepared or are only slightly prepared to answer patients' questions about medical marijuana, and 94 percent reported that their graduates are not at all prepared or only slightly prepared to prescribe medical marijuana." In addition, fewer than ten percent of medical schools have medical marijuana documented in their curriculum.
A 2015 study similarly reported that 90 percent of pharmacy students believe that greater emphasis on medical cannabis ought to be included in their curriculum.
Authors concluded: "[O]ur study highlights a fundamental and potentially growing mismatch between the legalization of medical marijuana at a state level and the ability of physicians to properly address patients' questions about medical marijuana or to appropriately prescribe it. ... With more states on the cusp of legalizing medical marijuana, we must address this mismatch between policy and physician training so that we can best help our patients obtain the potential benefits and minimize adverse consequences from using medical marijuana."
Full text of the study, "Physicians-in-training are not prepared to prescribe medical marijuana," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Study: No Link Between Marijuana Use And HIV-Related Mortality
Providence, RI: Cannabis use is not associated with increased mortality risk in HIV-infected men, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal AIDS and Behavior.
A team of investigators from the Veterans Administration, Brown University, Yale University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the National Institutes of Health assessed drug use and mortality in a cohort of 3,099 HIV-positive men over a nine-year period.
Both the use of alcohol and stimulants were associated with negative effects on five-year mortality risk. By contrast, cannabis use was not independently associated with mortality risk.
Separate studies report that the use of cannabis by HIV/AIDS patients is associated with higher CD4 and CD8 cell counts, as well as with greater adherence to antiretroviral therapy regimens.
Full text of the study, "Association of cannabis, stimulant, and alcohol use with mortality prognosis among HIV-infected men," appears in AIDS and Behavior.