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Who is using medical marijuana, and why?

Report details why Nevada's 5000 medical marijuana card holders are using the drug

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 2/27/2014 1:15 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) --There are currently about 5000 medical marijuana card holders across the state of Nevada. About 3500 of them are here in Clark County.

A report released by the state breaks down why these patients are using the drug. It's being doled out to help for a variety of diseases but the most prevalent is for chronic pain. News 3 spoke with Dr. Dalia Wachs, who said the medical community is still learning what the drug can be used for.

Here's a breakdown of the most common ways marijuana is being used. Keep in mind patients can have more than one symptom they're treating.

  • 4551 patients have been prescribed the drug to treat severe pain.
  • 964 are using it to control muscle spasms.
  • 851 patients use cannabis to treat severe nausea.
  • 204 patients use it as a way to help with their cancer.

Dr. Wachs says some of those applications are fairly new.

“Marijuana has a lot of anecdotal evidence, but not a lot of hard evidence for a lot of diseases,” Wachs said. “We're starting to see doctors use it for epilepsy, seizures, and spasms for multiple sclerosis. More commonly, we see it used for glaucoma, which is inter-ocular pressure, and to increase appetite in cancer patients.”

Out of those 5000 patients, ten of them are minors under the age of eighteen. Doctor Wachs explained when a child might need the drug.

“When I think of a minor needing cannabis, it's because the pediatrician or possibly the cancer doctor involved is prescribing it to getting them to eat, increasing their appetite, etc.” Wachs said.

Marijuana is being prescribed to all age groups. Those between 55 and 64 have 1148 patients on the drug. The numbers dip only slightly as the ages drop, close to a thousand patients in each group between ages 25 to 54.

According to the state, the number of application continues to grow. There are currently 110 applications for cards pending.



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