Over 1 million people in UK using cannabis for medical purposes – EPM Magazine

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Up to 1.4 million people in the UK are thought to be using cannabis for medical purposes, according to new research.

Previous research estimated that between 50,000 and 1.1 million people in the UK were using cannabis with medical intent. That data, which was criticised for being open to observational, selection and reporting bias, failed to be considered in any national policy deliberations.

However, a new poll conducted by the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMS) and the Cannabis Patient Advocacy & Support Services (CPASS) now estimates those figures to be much higher.

The survey sought to accurately identify the incidence of street-available cannabis to treat the symptoms of chronic conditions across England, Wales and Scotland. The poll, conducted by Yougov, included a sample size of 10,179 people taking across a one-week period in October 2019.   

It found that 56% of those using cannabis for a chronic condition did so on a daily basis, with a further 23% doing so on a weekly basis. More so, almost half (44%) spent up to £99 per month with 21% spending between £100 and £199.

In the coming days, the CMC will set out new proposals for how NICE should evaluate cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) in the next 5-10 years whilst we wait for new randomised controlled trial (RCT) data to emerge, host a policy seminar in London to explore how the Danish Government responded to similar challenges and announce the launch of a major new clinical research conference in London.

Steve Moore, director, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis: ​“​In the medium term cannabis based medicinal products should be evaluated as all other medicines are via the well designed RCTs that are the foundation of evidence-based prescribing protocols but we can no longer ignore the scale of ‘street cannabis’ use by chronically ill people in the UK. We urge the Government to explore models such as those being implemented by the Danish Government which accelerate patient access and clinical learning and address grim illicit profiteering and exploitation of vulnerable people.”

The poll comes following approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) of two cannabis-based medicines to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. While CMC welcomed the new NICE guidelines, the group called on the government to accelerate patient access and clinical learning through the NHS.

This article originally appeared here in https://www.epmmagazine.com/news/over-1-million-people-in-uk-using-cannabis-for-medical-purpo/

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