The Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) today called on the government to urgently review policy relating to medical cannabis access as a new survey found over 1.4 million people in the UK self-medicating with illicit cannabis.
The survey, published in the report titled ‘Left Behind – The Scale of Illegal Cannabis Use for Medical Intent’, is the largest ever UK survey showing the extent of the prevalence of use of street-available cannabis for diagnosed medical conditions amongst the general population in England, Wales and Scotland.
According to the detailed breakdown, 653,456 people in the UK are using cannabis for depression; 586,188 for anxiety; 326,728 for chronic pain; 230,631 for arthritis; 182,583 for insomnia and 177,778 for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some 71.4 per cent treating themselves with cannabis are aged between 18 to 44, but a significant 14.6 per cent of users are aged over 55.
The survey further revealed that 42 per cent people using cannabis to treat themselves spend over £100 a month on cannabis, while the highest mean expenditure per month was £357 for Parkinson’s disease.
Steve Moore, Founder of CMC, said: “These findings quantify what we long suspected, almost 3 per cent 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. Other countries such as Denmark and France faced with these same challenges have established national medicinal cannabis pilots, we urge the UK government to do likewise.”