The 2018 Medical Cannabis Survey of over 1750 medical cannabis patients was the first of its kind in the UK.
In 2016, for the APPG Inquiry into Medicinal Cannabis and whilst a director of United Patient Alliance, Jon Liebling designed, ran and analysed a cannabis patient survey, improved and repeated in 2018 with this survey, to get a better understanding of patient experience as too often this is overlooked in favour of a legal, political or logistical arguments and the results expose the people behind the anecdotal evidence and the challenges they have faced in order to stay well.
In 2017 the NHS spent £9.17 billion on prescriptions in the UK, with the cost of seven days of treatment being as high as £216.46 for some opiate-based analgesics. Today, 80000 specialist clinicians will be able to prescribe cannabis medicine as an alternative. Today we have a unique opportunity to create some breathing space in the NHS budget and all whilst providing a treatment option that is considerably more effective, with fewer side effects.
If we look at the patients consuming for pain relief; 49% stated that prescription opiates or similar made their symptoms worse or they found little improvement. When comparing this to their symptomatic relief with cannabis; 77% reported significant improvement, with 10% reporting complete removal of their symptoms.
Another area we saw exceptional results in was patients medicating for mental health conditions, with over 30% reporting that was their sole reason for consumption. In a 2009 US survey; 37% of patients reported ‘very bothersome’ side effects of SSRI’s including suicidal thoughts, depersonalisation, sexual dysfunction and drowsiness. We are hopeful that the NICE process will provide a route to prescription treatment for those who would benefit from natural and safer medicine.
It is imperative to provide education to patients and health professionals alike, but it is also important to recognise that we have tens of thousands of ‘expert patients’ in the UK, who have been conducting their own research for many years. Safe consumption is something we have seen a big move towards, with 41% of patients now choosing to vaporise over smoking and we welcomed the news that the guidelines being put in place allows for raw material to be used in patient devices.
We are hopeful, over the coming months that clinicians will make a bold move, allowing patients to make a choice and to prescribe accordingly where appropriate. Cannabis medicine should be viewed as any newly available treatment would be, following evidence-based guidelines and not through a cloud of fear-driven bias. We are also hopeful that those patients who fall outside of the initial criteria for application, will be treated with respect and dignity under the current laws.
Here are the full results:
2018 MC Patient Survey – Results
Find out more and register your interest in CPASS here: http://cannpass.org/
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