According to a new survey by the center for medicinal cannabis, 1.4 million adults in the UK illegally obtain cannabis to treat chronic pain.

Previous estimates suggesting that between 50,000 and 1.1 million people in the United Kingdom were using cannabis for medical purposes now seem very much underestimated. According to the largest sample of surveys ever conducted, the number of people reporting using cannabis purchased from the street to treat a diagnosed medical problem is about 2.8% of the adult population.

Of these, 56% use cannabis daily to treat their symptoms. 23% use it every week. 9% did not spend money on cannabis (which implies personal production), 44% spent up to £99 (115 euros) per month and 21% spent between £100 and 199 (230 euros).

Further information on the diseases for which cannabis has been used, as well as the social, age and geographical groups that have used it, has been collected and will be published in a future report.

Anne Keen, President of Cannabis Advocacy and Support Services (CASS) and a member of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, said: “These figures show a large number of patients in the United Kingdom with chronic and disabling diseases who believe they have no choice but to expose themselves to all the risks associated with accessing a product that is acquired in an illegal market. Controlled, safe but innovative solutions must be explored as soon as possible.”

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