Here's the number one reason people use medical marijuana

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States allow people to use medical marijuana to treat any number of conditions ranging from HIV/AIDS to cancer to irritable bowel syndrome. But there's one medical reason people use cannabis above all others, writes Joseph Misulonas.

A new study from the Health Affairs journal found that the number one reason people use medical marijuana is to treat chronic pain. They noted that around two-thirds of the reasons cited for using medical marijuana involved chronic pain. However, it should be noted that people could select multiple different kinds of pain, so you shouldn't assume two-thirds of medical marijuana patients do so for chronic pain.

Chronic pain was followed by multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy-induced nausea to round out the top three reasons people use medicinal cannabis. One of the authors of the study noted that the most common reasons for using medical marijuana are also the areas where research is most reliable about cannabis' effects and benefits to help treat.

“The majority of patients for whom we have data are using cannabis for reasons where the science is the strongest,” said Kevin Boehnke of the University of Michigan.

According to the study, about 85 percent of medical marijuana users' reasons for consuming cannabis is supported by "substantial or conclusive" evidence that the drug can help treat their conditions.  So most people are using medical marijuana to treat conditions that we know will be helped by cannabis. 

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