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:
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.