Psychiatric conditions, not chronic pain, lead early patient demographics

Psychiatric conditions, not chronic pain, lead early patient demographics


Missouri Medical Marijuana Section Director Lyndall Fraker was one of the keynote speakers at MoCannBizCon+Expo 2020. The conference ran on March 2-3, 2020, featuring booths and educational speakers from various businesses and sects in the midwest cannabis industry. 

Fraker displayed a variety of Missouri patient demographics during his presentation. This data is measured from June 2, 2019, to December 5, 2019, so at the time of Fraker’s speech, it wasn’t up to date. There have been many additional approved patients since December. (Subscribing to Greenway’s emails will let you see updated patient numbers each week!)

Here is a graph Greenway created of the top five qualifying conditions that Missouri patients received cards for. 

Bar graph displaying patients by qualifying condition

The number one qualifying condition is psychiatric disorders at 7,379 patients. It is interesting to compare and note that many sources cite chronic pain over psychiatric conditions as the number one qualifying condition across the United States. 

Though not listed on the graph, cancer falls just behind migraines with a little over 800 patients approved to use cannabis. The numbers take a big dip when the following qualifying condition of epilepsy clocks in at a little over 300 people. Other conditions presented included inflammatory bowel disease, Chron’s disease, HIV, glaucoma, and hepatitis C. There were 21 conditions total on the graph, with Huntington’s Disease claiming the lowest number of patients.


Fraker also showed a graph displaying approved patients broken down by their age group. One might assume the 18-29-year-old age group to hold the most medical cannabis patients. Shockingly, the 30-39-year-old age group carries 21.7% of Missouri’s cardholders, leading the pack for the most number of patients of any age group.

When talking with people of the 18-29-year-old age group in Missouri, many aren’t even aware that you can be a certified patient yet because there aren’t any dispensaries open. One of the reasons this age group may not have as many patients is simply a lack of education on that aspect of Amendment 2. Other ideas include a lack of resources or finances. 

Patients in the 40-49-year-old age range, patients 50-59 years old, and patients 60-69 years old all beat the 18-29-year-old age range too, with percentages reaching roughly 18%, 19%, and 16% respectively. The age group maintaining the lowest number of patients is those 17 years old and younger. Only 0.37% of patients fall in that category and it probably has something to do with the extra steps needing to be taken for minors to receive their patient cards, as well as some doctor’s hesitancy to recommend it to children. Many parents of minors with conditions that qualify also may not be educated on medical cannabis. The age group holding the second-lowest number of patients is those over 70 years old, claiming 4%.

According to Greenway’s most recent update, Missouri has approved 37,601 patient applications as of March 9. It is interesting to compare this number to other states’ patient numbers in 2018. Missouri has already surpassed the numbers in Illinois during that year. Illinois only had 21,800 approved medical cannabis patients in 2018, according to Statista

Fraker also showed a county-by-county map, indicating where patients live in the state. St. Louis County and Kansas City have the most patients, followed by Springfield, suburban St. Louis counties, and Columbia. The I-44 and I-70 corridors were pointed out as patient-heavy, especially in rural communities.

It will be interesting to observe how the patient numbers and demographics change once dispensaries are up and running.