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The results from the in depth 2018 #UPASurvey of Medical Cannabis Patients will be published very soon - BUT - in the meanwhile:

With access to medical cannabis only days away, The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis together with Volteface commissioned Populus to find out where public opinion now sits for both Medical and Recreational Access. This landmark opinion poll - published 29 October 2018 - has revealed:

Headlines

  • 13% of UK adults - around 6.7 million people - plan to ask their doctor or healthcare provider about accessing cannabis medicines when these products become legal to prescribe on the NHS. (76% of the public would use a cannabis-based medicine if was prescribed by their doctor)  

  • Public support for cannabis legalisation is at an all time high. The general public is almost twice as likely to support the legalisation of cannabis in the UK than they are to oppose it. 59% strongly support or tend to support the legalisation of cannabis, compared to 31% who strongly oppose or tend to oppose. (There has been a 37% increase in support since the May 2018 YouGov survey was conducted (from 43% to 59%), and accordingly opposition has fallen by 32% (from 41% to 31%).


Prevalence

  • 15% of the population say they have consumed cannabis – and this figure is highest among 18-24 year olds (at 28%) and lowest among 65+ year olds (7%). Those in the DE social grade are also slightly more likely than average to have consumed cannabis (21%).   

Medical Cannabis

  • The UK public is open to consuming cannabis as medicine if prescribed to them by their doctor – 76% would be willing to do so, and this level of agreement is fairly consistent across demographic groups. A potential adult patients base of over 40 million

  • 13% plan to ask their doctor or healthcare provider about accessing cannabis medicines when these products become legal to prescribe on the NHS. Younger respondents (18-24 year olds) and those in the DE social grade are slightly more likely than the rest of the population to plan to do this (18% and 19% respectively). That’s around 6.7million people planning to ask their doctor about cannabis.

Recreational - (Courtesy of Volteface)

  • The general public is almost twice as likely to support the legalisation of cannabis in the UK than they are to oppose. 59% strongly support or tend to support the legalisation of cannabis, compared to 31% who strongly oppose or tend to oppose. There has been a 37% increase in support since the May 2018 YouGov survey was conducted (from 43% to 59%), and accordingly opposition has fallen by 32% (from 41% to 31%).

  • Support for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK is strongest amongst younger age groups (68% SUM: support amongst 18-24 year olds) and falls with age (49% SUM: support amongst 65+ year olds).
    65% of the British public think that our cannabis laws should be reformed. 40% support legalisation and a quarter (25%) call for the decriminalisation- where the sale and possession of cannabis should remain illegal but be regarded as a minor offence, such as parking in the wrong place, rather than a criminal offence

  • Only one third of the British population (34%) think the sale and possession of cannabis should remain a criminal offence. Older age groups are most likely to rank the continuation of currently policy as their preferred option (39% of 55-64 year olds and 43% of 65+s).


The polls speak for themselves; we now have huge support in the UK for the 1.1m people that already benefit from cannabis as medicine, half of whom have been too scared of legal consequences to even discuss their consumption with their doctor and according to the poll, up to 7 million more people will be seeking to discuss cannabis-based treatment options with their doctor after the changes on November 1st. The medical profession needs to listen to and learn from the experience and expertise of patients and as a matter of urgency, we must prioritise education and training so that front line GPs can confidently prescribe these medicines, moving patients away from the criminal market as soon as possible
— Jon Liebling - Political Director - United Patients Alliance
it is paramount, following the long-awaited acknowledgement that cannabis has medical value; that we stop prosecuting patients who fall outside of the initial criteria for application. Over a million patients in the UK are currently self-medicating with cannabis for a medical condition and it is not in the public interest to have these chronically ill patients living with the threat of prosecution for consuming a medicine that gives them relief from their symptoms. This argument is not about drugs, it is about people taking responsibility for their own health and being allowed to do so.
— Carly Jayne Barton - Deputy Director - United Patients Alliance

These astonishing poll results demonstrate that there is overwhelming support for medicinal cannabis in the UK. Nationally, this could represent up to 7 million NHS users. The government and professional bodies need to urgently recognise this massive latent demand and significantly increase the education around these products, not only to consultants who will be prescribing them, but also to GPs, nurses, pharmacists and those currently involved in medical education. We need to foster a new era of research, both basic and clinical, about the effectiveness, side effects and long-term use of cannabis-based medicinal products to ensure we are delivering the best care to patients.
— Dr Saoirse O’Sullivan Associate Professor, University of Nottingham

Families 4 Access, alone, consists of nearly 100 parents seeking access to medicinal cannabis oil for their children’s severe conditions. The polls figures are staggering and must be recognised. It is our collective responsibility, to engage ourselves and others in professional development and critically approach how we shape the way in which we co-create a new normal which manages expectations, and develops everyone’s understanding on the efficacy and range of possibilities of cannabis based medicine. We don’t yet know the extent of how medicinal cannabis will help families and loved ones, but we are finally stepping towards a moment in time where we can begin to explore a wider range of potentially safer options to choose from to alleviate different forms of suffering.
— Basia Zieniewicz - Families 4 Access