Fall in Number Of UK Cannabis Users

ONE of the UK’s leading cannabis experts says the number of people using cannabis has fallen – although more people are seeking medical help as a result of their usage.

This follows recent research which suggesting 1.4m people in the UK use street cannabis to treat medical conditions.

The findings were revealed in a survey by pollsters YouGov for the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) and its spin-off organisation CPASS.

It found that 56% of those using cannabis for their conditions did so on a daily basis, with a further 23% on a weekly basis. 

Some 44% spend up to £99 per month, with a further 21% spending between £100 and £199, and around 9%, seemingly, growing their own.

However Ian Hamilton, a Senior Lecturer in Addiction and Mental Health at York University, speaking at a the Global Cannabis Institute Conference in London last year questioned the findings.

Pointing to the overall decline in cannabis use in the UK over the last decade-or-so he said he would take these findings with a ‘pinch of salt’.

From 5% To Just 3%

Mr Hamilton explained how the number of people, using cannabis in the UK. had fallen from over 5% of the population to around 3% in the last ten years.

However, he went on to say the the number of users, who are now presenting themselves for medical help with their cannabis use had risen over that time.

He said: “Overall cannabis use is declining, and most people grow out of using cannabis, as they mature, into their thirties.”

He then highlighted how the strength and potency off street cannabis had increased over the last few decades.

He said in many instances this could lead to social harm as the implications for many users are in relation to a loss of impulse control, which can plunge their families into debt. 

Highlighting last year’s legal changes allowing for the prescription of  medical cannabis he highlighted how the UK was developing a two-tier system which was leaving it out of the reach for this on lower incomes.

He went on to say the UK tradition of mixing cannabis with tobacco is not uncommon elsewhere and decoupling could then make a significant contribution to country’s health.

In a press release the CMC said that previous research estimated somewhere between 50,000 and 1.1m people in the UK  use cannabis for its health benefits. 

It said its 1.4m figure ‘accurately identify the incidence of street-available cannabis use for medical intent amongst the general population in England, Wales and Scotland’.

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