Last updated: Jan 20, 2020 | USA
PUBLISHED : 20 JAN 2020 - 15:56
Around 1.4million Brits buy cannabis illegally to treat medical conditions. They include 100,000 cancer patients, 50,000 people with multiple sclerosis and 250,000 with arthritis, a YouGov survey has claimed.
Experts have begged the Government to change the law to give patients legal access.
Steve Moore, of the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, said: “These shocking findings quantify what we long suspected – almost 3% of the UK adult population are choosing to use cannabis rather than traditional pharmaceutical products.”
The Department of Health said: “We have changed the law to allow patient access to cannabis-based products.”
Taxpayers have also spent more than £2.5billion processing up to 8,000 criminals a year for cannabis offences since 2015.
The survey suggests that people with hereditary disease Huntington’s are most likely to take cannabis to manage the incurable condition, with more than two fifths of patients saying they already do.
Nearly a third of those with Parkinson’s and a fifth of MS sufferers also say they take the drug illegally to ease their symptoms.
The results were published in a report for the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis called Left Behind - The Scale of Illegal Cannabis Use for Medicinal Intent.
It called on the Government to urgently review their policies blocking use for medicinal purposes, blasting: “The monetary, ethical and social cost to individuals using cannabis to relieve their symptoms is high, and exposes them to significant personal risk.”
Steve Moore, of the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, said: “These shocking findings quantify what we long suspected: almost 3% of the UK adult population are choosing to use cannabis rather than traditional pharmaceutical products to treat their chronic medical conditions.”
The Department of Health said: “We sympathise with those dealing with challenging conditions and have changed the law to allow patient access to cannabis-based products for medicinal use where clinically appropriate.
“There is a clear need for more evidence to support clinical prescribing.”