New survey reveals broad spectrum of issues facing UK cannabis patients – 38% report supplementing with self-sourced cannabis

Cannabis Health Website reports

New survey data reveals the myriad of issues facing UK patients, four years on from the legalisation of medical cannabis.

Data collected from a recent survey paints a mixed picture of the experience of medical cannabis patients in the UK.

Patient advocacy group PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) gathered responses from over 350 cannabis patients in the UK, to get a better understanding of their experiences.

Four years on from the legalisation of medical cannabis on 1 November 2018, the results show that many patients are still facing considerable barriers such as cost, supply and societal stigma. 

Who took part in the survey?

Most of those who took part in the study (56%) had a legal prescription for cannabis, while 39% classed themselves as self-medicating.

Just over half were male with most between 25-55 years of age. Over a third identified as ‘disabled, not able to work’ and 29% were in full-time employment.

The main conditions for which patients were prescribed cannabis include anxiety, ADHD, low mood, insomnia, pain (joint/muscle/nerve), PTSD, inflammation, gastric issues and OCD. 

The majority of patients were previously prescribed pharmaceuticals for their condition. Since having a prescription for cannabis, 38% were able to stop the use of pharmaceuticals entirely while 46% report using fewer.

Existing barriers 

Despite the potential benefits for their health condition, patients continue to fall victim to issues with supply, consistency and quality control when it comes to prescribed cannabis products.

Two thirds (62%) said they had experienced ‘unreasonable’ delays to their prescription and 31% had experienced quality control issues, such as receiving a damaged or contaminated product.

Over a third of patients (35%) are spending over £350 a month for their prescription, with 46% paying between £150 – £300.

This is mostly funded using their benefits (59%) or employment salary (44%) with some getting support through an access scheme, which helps to subsidise the cost.

But despite clear issues with the dispensing of products, 80% of patients said they were satisfied with their prescribing clinic, with only 20% rating the quality of service as ‘unacceptable’.

How patients are consuming cannabis 

Almost 87% of patients were already consuming cannabis before accessing a medical prescription, according to the survey.

The average amount of cannabis flower consumed per month was 39g and patients consumed an average of 28ml of oil-based products. Most patients say they consume their medication several times a day.

A minority of patients (28%) also supplement their prescription with store-bought CBD, while 38% reported supplementing it with self-sourced cannabis.

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