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Doctor suggested cannabis for pain relief, says one in six medicinal users in the UKMUHC study

Sixteen per cent of people who use cannabis for medical reasons say that their doctor suggested it, according to research published in the March issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

947 people in the UK reported using cannabis for medical purposes, with more than a third (35 per cent) saying that they used it six or seven days a week. The majority (68 per cent) said that it made their symptoms much better.

"The results of our UK survey, including the extent of use and reported effects, lend support to the further development of safe and effective medicines based on cannabis" says lead author Dr Mark Ware principal investigator and pain physician at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Pain Centre.

People with chronic pain were most likely to use cannabis for medicinal purposes (25 percent) followed by patients with multiple sclerosis (22 per cent), depression (22 per cent) arthritis (21 per cent) and neuropathy (19 per cent).

Younger people, males and those who had used cannabis recreationally were also more likely to use it for medicinal reasons.

Key findings included:

  • 73 per cent of respondents used cannabis at least once a week, with 35 per cent using it six or seven times a week.

  • 62 per cent said a friend, family members of acquaintance had suggested it and 55 per cent said they had read a book or article about cannabis. 19 per cent were prior users or had found out its benefits by accident and 16 per cent said their doctor had suggested it.

  • The majority of users (82 per cent) smoked the drug. Other methods included eating it (43 per cent) and making cannabis tea (28 per cent).

  • 916 reported average usage levels, with the largest percentage (27 per cent) using one to two grams per day. Only two per cent used 10 or more grams a day and seven per cent used five to nine grams a day.

  • 45 per cent of 916 respondents said cannabis worked bet
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  • Contact: Ian Popple
    ian.popple@muhc.mcgill.ca
    514-843-1560
    McGill University
    16-Mar-2005


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