In a survey conducted between July and August 2023 asking about attitudes, opinions and access to medical cannabis garnered over 300 responses. The results of this survey unveiled compelling insights into the dynamic of medical cannabis in Ireland. The result of this survey paints a vivid picture of attitudes, challenges and opportunities in the realm of medical cannabis.
1. Awareness Gap Persists:
Despite the first prescription for medical cannabis being awarded in 2016 and the advent of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP), a surprising 48% of participants remain unaware of the legal avenues to access medical cannabis. This underscores the need for robust awareness campaigns and education.
2. Barriers to Conversations:
Two-thirds of respondents admitted to not discussing medical cannabis with their healthcare professionals. Stigma and negative perceptions emerge as prominent barriers, hindering open conversations and leaving patients without vital information.
3. Patient Perspective: Openness to Medical Cannabis:
A staggering 96% of participants expressed a willingness to consider cannabis as a treatment option. This showcases a significant openness to explore alternative treatments, emphasising the growing interest in medical cannabis.
4. Challenges in Usage:
Alarmingly, 85% of respondents who use cannabis admitted to using cannabis to treat their conditions without a prescription. While reflecting the desperation of patients seeking relief, it raises concerns about unregulated usage and potential risks associated with self-medication.
5. Public Acceptance:
An overwhelming 99% of respondents expressed support for others using medical cannabis, signalling a broad societal acceptance despite lingering stigmas.
Implications and Future Directions
The survey results highlight a nuanced landscape where awareness, stigma, and patient perspectives intersect. With nearly half the participants unaware of legal access routes, efforts are needed to bridge this knowledge gap and foster open conversations between patients and healthcare providers.
Moreover, the overwhelming support for medical cannabis from the public suggests a shift in societal attitudes. However, addressing the challenges associated with self-medication and unregulated usage is imperative to ensure patient safety. As Ireland navigates the evolving landscape of medical cannabis, these insights serve as a compass, guiding conversations, policy decisions, and public perceptions.
The detailed report, including in-depth analysis and recommendations, is now available in full to download.