The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) published a report today detailing the extent of medical cannabis use across the UK
The survey of 1.4 million people is the largest of its kind, accounting for 2.8% of the population.
The report revealed that 80% of the respondent treated their conditions with cannabis daily or weekly.
The CMC is calling on the government to urgently review its medical cannabis policies in light of the findings.
CMC founder Steve Moore said:
“These findings quantify what we long suspected, almost 3% of the UK adult population are choosing to use cannabis rather than traditional pharmaceutical products to treat their chronic medical conditions.
“We urgently need to know why and can only do so by extending access to cannabis-based medicine and accelerating clinical learning regarding its efficacy.”
Half of the participants reported spending over £100 per month on symptomatic relief from a range of issues, including depression, chronic pain, arthritis, PTSD, autism spectrum disorder, cancer, schizophrenia, Huntingdon’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
The highest expenditure was for Parkinson’s disease, with patients spending an average of £357 per month.
The survey also asked participants how they felt about engaging in illegal activity to obtain their cannabis.
Of those who answered, 34 were dissatisfied, 26 expressed their frustration at government policy and seven stated that they would prefer to obtain a prescription from their GP.
They also highlighted their disappointment with the high prices and inconsistent supplies.
Dr Daniel Couch, medical lead at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, said:
“The data in our report demonstrates the “hidden” personal, moral and societal costs of using “street” cannabis.
“The tried and tested drug evaluation process does not take these non-clinical and wider- societal risks into account so therefore may not be suitable for the assessment of medicinal cannabis.
“We must debate an adaptive onward approach for the UK.”