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Characteristics of medical marijuana dispensary patients

Cite this dataset

Lent, Michelle (2022). Characteristics of medical marijuana dispensary patients [Dataset]. Dryad.


Introduction: Despite the rising availability and use of medical marijuana (MM) in the U.S., little is known about the demographics, clinical characteristics, or quality of life of MM patients. This study describes the demographic characteristics and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of MM patients who are initiating treatment in Pennsylvania.

Methods: Two hundred adults naive to MM and referred for any of the 23 state-approved qualifying conditions were recruited at three MM dispensaries in Pennsylvania between September 2020 and March 2021. All participants consented to the study, completed semi-structured interviews that included demographic questionnaires, the Short Form-36 (SF-36), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), provided height and weight measurements, and allowed access to their dispensary medical records.

Results: Participants had a mean age of 48.5 ±15.6 years, predominantly identified as female (67.5 %), and were most commonly referred for chronic pain (63.5%) and/or anxiety (58.5%). Additionally, 46.0% were living with obesity as determined by Body Mass Index (BMI). Relative to a normative sample, participants reported diminished HRQoL in several domains, most notably in role limitations due to physical health (M = 46.0 ± 42.0), role limitations due to emotional problems (M = 52.5 ± 42.3), energy and fatigue (M = 39.8 ± 20.2), and pain (M = 49.4 ± 26.0).

Discussion/Conclusion: Patients initiating MM treatment experienced low HRQoL in multiple domains. Future studies could evaluate the relationship between HRQoL and patients’ decisions to pursue MM treatment, as well as changes in HRQoL with MM use over time.


Participants were recruited between September 2020 and March 2021 at three dispensary locations in central Pennsylvania. Interested patients were introduced to research staff utilizing a “warm handoff” from the dispensary pharmacist. Pharmacist consultations were conducted via phone and patients who expressed interest in the study were transferred to the on-site research staff. Interested patients that met the eligibility criteria were invited for a brief in-person meeting at the dispensary to complete the informed consent process and select assessments (i.e., cognitive assessments, height, and weight). 

Data were collected and managed in PCOM's REDCap. Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, standard deviations, and percentages) were calculated to characterize the sample in terms of demographic and clinical characteristics, functional status, and HRQoL at treatment initiation using SPSS (version 24.0).

Usage notes

-9 and -8 represent missing data. Age, weight and height were masked or modified, and education, employment, ethnicity, and medical histories removed, as required for dataset approval.


Organic Remedies, Inc