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UK patient survey exposes failings of doctors

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Self selecting group endorse efficacy
A major survey of nearly 2000 medical cannabis patients shows it is seen as highly effective compared to conventional medicines.

Medicinal cannabis consumption was reported by patients with a wide range of primary conditions including Chronic Pain (20%) depression (17%), Anxiety (16%), Insomnia (9%), Arthritis (7%), fibromyalgia (7%)

Seventy percent of the 1,750 patients surveyed said the prescription medication from which they switched away – in preference for cannabis – gave them significant or severe side-effects.

The reality of the plight of patients who have had to resort to secret sourcing and self administration of cannabis as a medicine comes as the UK Government legalised a limited range of licensed cannabis-based medicines for prescription via specialist clinicians on November 1, 2018.

“This is a window on the reality of the torture of pain and anxiety of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who have not only endured multiple conditions, agonising physical and mental hardship, but have also been forced, whether personally or with the help of friends and family, to live the nightmare of secretly sourcing their only relief on black markets, on the street and in dark alleys for years” said Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance which ran the survey.

Patients know the realities of both pain and relief, with 47% of those surveyed saying they did not tell their GPs about their cannabis use for fear of legal consequences.

Key findings of the UPA survey:

Primary conditions suffered by patients:

20% Pain

17% Depression

16% Anxiety

31% said they consumed cannabis to address mental and behavioural disorders

72% buy cannabis for medicinal purposes ‘on the street’, black market, or with the help of friends

Length of Condition and Cannabis Consumption

43% had lived with their primary condition for a decade or more

24% have been consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes for more than ten years

31% between one and five years

49% had tried prescription medication, but made them feel worse or provided no improvement on their condition.

77% said cannabis provided a significant improvement in their condition

10% stating that it completely removed symptoms of one or more of their conditions

70% said prescription medication gave them significant or severe side-effects

42% said cannabis replaced analgesic pain relief

29% said it replaced anti-depressant prescription drugs

Therapeutic Relationship with GP
47% said they did not tell their GP for fear of legal consequences

37% through fear of disapproval

Only 19% of GPs told of cannabis use were against its consumption

Types of Cannabis and Consumption Methods
82% of those surveyed said they knew or understood the type and strength of cannabis most effective for their condition

41% vapourised cannabis in herbal or flower form

27% smoked it with tobacco

32% consume cannabis through eating or drinking it, via capsules, oil, spray or similar means

9% smoke it

What needs to change?
73% say that decriminalising cannabis would make it safer to obtain

65% say if cannabis was decriminalised, then they would grow their own supply to create their own medicines.

Respondents identified as medical consumers of cannabis.

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