Medical cannabis can be much more expensive than prescription drugs

The consensus from a recent survey seems to be that the state’s cannabis industry is a wild west business model.

The GrowthOp 4 minute read September 8, 2021

In states such as Michigan and Illinois, the average cost of an ounce (28 grams) of medicinal herb is between US$265 and US$380. / Andrii Zorii/Getty Images

Depending on who’s asked, medical marijuana can prevent, treat and even cure health conditions ranging from anxiety to cancer.

Some believe in the powers of the herb so much that they have tossed their prescription drugs in the trash and kicked it into high gear down the path of pot. But some of these people are learning that with all of the legal discrepancies associated with this crop in the U.S., it can be an expensive trip.

In Ohio, a survey conducted by the state found that almost 60 per cent of patients and caregivers are unnerved about the price of medical marijuana. The poll found that most program participants pay around US$300 out of pocket every month for cannabis products. And many are complaining about it.

“Why are these products so expensive?” one responder asked. “Does Ohio realize that those prescribed mmj (medical marijuana) often deal with symptoms that make working full-time difficult?”

While some patients grumble about the state’s prices being unreasonable and unaffordable, expensive is just the nature of the beast when it comes to medical marijuana. In states such as Michigan and Illinois, the average cost of an ounce (28 grams) of medicinal herb is between US$265 and US$380.

Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program is no exception. A December 2020 report from The Philadelphia Inquirer shows the state is one of the country’s most expensive medical marijuana markets. The high cost has been attributed to everything from profiteering to supply issues, but clear-cut answers have not been offered.

The consensus seems to be that the state’s cannabis industry is a wild west business model, and everyone involved is charging whatever they want simply because they can. Officials with Ohio’s medical marijuana advisory board reportedly say program participants are always complaining about the price of weed. And probably always will.

“The patient community is always outraged about the prices,” said advisory board member Luke Shultz. “I’m not sure where the price should be. But we’d sure like to see it lower,” Shultz said.

Medical cannabis is a solid concept at a basic level. Studies regularly emerge that show how the herb can make life a little more palatable. Even regular people with no opinions about whether or medical marijuana is better or worse than Big Pharma options appear to be giving it a try.

Patient counts have continued to increase over the past few years. This has been cited for contributing to pot shortages in some areas, which leads to price hikes and unhappy customers.


There is also a wealth of other factors that bring about high medical marijuana prices. And the cost can be a deterrent.

“The dispensaries are severely overpriced,” one Ohio medical marijuana patient wrote in a note accompanying the survey.

Spending hundreds of dollars every month isn’t always the most feasible option for alternative medicine, not when patients can lean on their health insurance plan for pharmaceuticals that provide similar or even better results for little to no money out of pocket. Even those who refuse to give up on medical cannabis often bypass legal channels and frequent black market sources for a price break.

But if a patient doesn’t have health insurance, he or she may not have a job or one that pays well enough to afford legal weed.

With all the advancements in cannabis grow operations, and a valiant attempt to eliminate the stoner stereotype from dispensary storefronts, the U.S. pot market has become a bit bougie. And there’s no US$5 prescription plan.

It could be argued that federal prohibition is what makes medical marijuana a flawed concept. Since the U.S. government still considers cannabis a Schedule I dangerous drug with no known medical value, state-produced medicinal cannabis isn’t really even considered medicine.

In the U.S., it isn’t covered by any health insurance network, it’s not being administered in hospitals (not even in legal states) and it cannot be purchased at CVS or Walgreens.

In fact, while a doctor can write a recommendation for it, medical marijuana cannot be prescribed.

The, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.