Releaf, the UK’s first all-in-one medicinal cannabis e-clinic, has released the findings of its comprehensive report on medicinal cannabis usage in the country. The report, based on a survey of 4,210 respondents, highlights the significant lack of prescriptions and widespread public unawareness of the legal status of medicinal cannabis in the UK. In this blog post, we will delve into the key insights from the report and shed light on the challenges faced by patients and the need for increased awareness and access to this alternative treatment option.
High Eligibility, Low Prescription Rates
The Releaf report reveals that an estimated 50.2% of the UK population, approximately 29.6 million people, could be eligible for a medicinal cannabis prescription. However, only 0.48% of the population has received such a prescription. This significant disparity highlights the limited availability of medical cannabis and the challenges patients face in accessing this potentially beneficial treatment.
Distress and Discomfort of Untreated Conditions
Among the respondents with conditions suitable for medicinal cannabis treatment, 45.6% reported living with significant distress and discomfort. Chronic pain, depression, cancer, and migraines were cited as some of the most prevalent treatable illnesses. These findings emphasise the potential for medical cannabis to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life for individuals living with these conditions.
Lack of Awareness of Legal Status
Despite the legalisation of medicinal cannabis for prescriptions in 2018, the report indicates that 58.5% of respondents were unsure of its legal status in the UK. This lack of awareness contributes to the societal stigma surrounding medical cannabis and inhibits patients from exploring it as a viable treatment option.
Social Stigma and Hesitation
The Releaf report highlights the social stigma associated with medicinal cannabis use. Approximately 34.16% of respondents expressed concerns about using medical cannabis due to the fear of being mistaken for engaging in illegal activities. Moreover, 16.86% of participants worried about disapproval from friends and family, indicating the need for a more open and understanding societal attitude towards this form of treatment.
Medicinal Cannabis Benefits
Medicinal cannabis was legalised in the UK for prescriptions in 2018, and numerous studies have documented its potential to improve symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety, and more. Conditions eligible for medicinal cannabis treatment include chronic pain, depression, cancer, and migraines. Data from the Releaf report showed that 19.74% of respondents reported having anxiety, making it the most prevalent diagnosed condition suitable for medical cannabis treatment.
The Call for Awareness and Change
Mason Soiza, founder and CEO of Releaf, emphasises the importance of spreading awareness and challenging negative perceptions surrounding medicinal cannabis. The report reveals that over two-thirds (67.67%) of people would consider using medical cannabis as a treatment option. This highlights the potential benefits associated with medicinal cannabis and the need to change societal beliefs to provide access to those who can clinically benefit from it.
Dr. Stephen D’Souza, Medical Director at Releaf, further stresses the need for additional research on the efficacy of medicinal cannabis and the potential to treat symptoms like depression, migraines, and gut health. With more research, the goal is to spread greater awareness and change public perceptions regarding this alternative form of treatment.
Releaf’s All-in-One Medicinal Cannabis E-Clinic
As part of its campaign, Releaf plans to launch the UK’s first all-in-one medicinal cannabis e-clinic later this summer. The platform offers a wholly online, discreet service for those seeking an assessment for prescription medical cannabis. The unique approach involves video consultations with leading cannabis specialist doctors, offering personalised strains and recommended dosages, and facilitating the prescription process.
The Releaf report highlights the significant lack of prescriptions and public awareness regarding medicinal cannabis in the UK. With a high proportion of the population eligible for this form of treatment, it is crucial to address the barriers to access and reduce the social stigma associated with medical cannabis. By increasing awareness and understanding, the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis can be realised, improving the lives of millions of individuals living with treatable conditions. Releaf’s report serves as a call to action for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the public to support evidence-based policies and create a more inclusive and informed environment for patients seeking alternative treatment options like medical cannabis.
Note: The information presented in this blog post is based on the findings of the Releaf report and the associated press release. For more details and to access the full report, please visit the Releaf website at releaf.co.uk.