Why are so many patients still accessing medical cannabis illegally in the UK?

April 13, 2023 by Katya Kowalski, Volteface with additional reporting by Sarah Sinclair, Cannabis Health

The UK’s medical cannabis industry has at times felt like a broken record. Once the hype of the law change subsided and fizzled out, the industry has been in a loop of difficulty trying to reduce the number of patients on the illicit market.

When medical cannabis was legalised in 2018, there was an expectation that patient numbers would grow quickly, with the reported 1.4 million people already medicating illicitly, seeking out legal prescriptions. However, now almost five years on, that hasn’t been the case.

It’s evident that the UK’s rescheduling of cannabis is a classic example of where just because something has changed on paper, it hasn’t necessarily shifted in practice. Why is that? What explains all of this?

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