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In The Press: Our Health Desperation Campaign

Published: 11/04/2024

At Curaleaf Clinic, we are committed to reducing the barriers for eligible patients to access medical cannabis. As part of our efforts, we launched our Health Desperation campaign in March this year.

We know that many people are driven to extreme measures to address chronic problems, such as pain. In some cases, these desperate measures can be potentially dangerous or illegal. The issue is many people do not know where to turn for help. One in two adults in the UK (United Kingdom) still do not know that medical cannabis can be legally prescribed in the UK for eligible patients. Through this campaign we hoped to show people they can take back control of their health without having to resort to extreme lengths.

For this campaign we polled 2000 UK adults about chronic pain and the extreme lengths they go to. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Chronic pain significantly affects daily activities and sleep for many Brits, with 80% reporting it disrupts their everyday life.
    Chronic pain is affecting Brits’ ability to perform daily tasks including household chores (30%), climbing stairs (27%), and getting dressed (15%). With 40% struggling to exercise and 40% unable to recall the last time they had a full night’s sleep.
  • Over half (56%) of chronic pain sufferers have not found effective treatment, with many facing delays and difficulties in accessing healthcare.
    Nearly four in 10 (37%) face difficulties in scheduling GP appointments. Of those awaiting specialist care, 23% have been waiting for over six months.
  • In their struggle to manage pain, some individuals take excessive medication, use prescriptions not intended for them, or turn to illicit substances.
    The desperate measures they reported include 43% have taken more medication than recommended to manage their pain, 13% using someone else’s prescription, and one in 20 have been left so desperate, that they have resorted to illicitly sourced substances to help manage their pain.

We collaborated with the esteemed Dr Emeka Okorocha to amplify our campaign’s message. Alongside Dr Simon Erridge, Research Director at Curaleaf Clinic, they spoke with newspapers and radio stations to help get the message out there about this issue and how Curaleaf Clinic is working to provide a potential solution for eligible patients.

Listen to a radio interview with Dr Emeka and Dr Simon here.

In addition to the medical experts, Curaleaf Clinic patient, Jenn Sharp, 48, from North Greenwich in London, shared her experience with chronic pain and being unable to find the right medication that worked for her in several newspapers including the Mirror and Express.

She had been prescribed many over-the-counter opioids and painkillers, but none of the medications proved to be effective. For many years, Jenn was stuck in a cycle of recurring visits to her doctors to continue being prescribed medication and opioids that proved ineffective.

In 2022, Jenn was prescribed medical cannabis for chronic pain due to osteoarthritis. Jenn said: “While I still live with the physical pain of my conditions, I’ve found a significant difference between when I use medical cannabis, compared to when I don’t.”

Whilst we are happy that Jenn has been able to find a solution for her, we know there is still much more we can do to educate the public, people living with chronic health conditions, and healthcare professionals on medical cannabis. To find out more about medical cannabis, please go to Curaleaf Education or email us at [email protected]

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