About 2.8 percent of Britain’s adult population — about 1.4 million people — is using cannabis to treat chronic health conditions, according to a YouGov poll conducted for the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and Cannabis Advocacy Support Services, outlined by the Independent.
More than 80 percent of the survey respondents were from England, although the survey results represent adults in the general population living in England, Wales, and Scotland.
More than half of the survey respondents indicated they used cannabis on a daily basis while just under a quarter said they used cannabis on a weekly basis. The survey found that 44 percent said they spend up to £99 ($127.50), while about one-fifth said they spend between £100 ($128.80) and £199 ($256.30). Another 9 percent said they spend nothing on cannabis, suggesting they grow it themselves or get it for free from friends and family.
Dr. Daniel Couch, medical lead at the CMC, said the survey is the “first time” the nation has “reliable, representative data regarding the number of people in Britain using cannabis as a medicine.”
“The findings are astounding and present a national challenge,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.
Ann Keen, chair of the CPASS and fellow of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, said “safe” solutions for medical cannabis access “must be explored as soon as possible.”
“[The statistics] demonstrate the vast number of patients in the UK with chronic and debilitating diagnosed conditions who feel they have no choice but to expose themselves to all the risks of accessing a medicine that works from the criminal market.” — Keen, to the Guardian
The report comes the same day as the National Health Service advisory body, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, approved cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drugs Sativex and Epidiolex for use by the NHS.
Medicinal cannabis remains illegal throughout the United Kingdom.
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