Medical cannabis has been legal in India since July 1, 2017, but the government has yet to implement the law’s regulation.
The government has said it wants to create a regulated market and has given no timeframe for that.
The medical cannabis market is expected to be worth about Rs 1,300 crore by 2021, and India could overtake the US in the market within a decade.
But there is still concern that many medicinal cannabis users are not getting their prescribed drugs from pharmacies.
According to the Indian National Drug Control Board (INDCB), in 2015, the government granted 1.23 million applications for medicinal cannabis prescriptions.
This number was nearly five times the number of applications in 2012, according to the data.
This year, the INDCB expects the number to grow to 3.1 million applications.
The Indian government has also granted about 10 million licenses to registered medicinal cannabis patients, according TOI.
But according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in August, the number who had received prescriptions from a licensed medicinal cannabis provider was nearly six times higher than the population of the country at large.
This, according the CSE, is because of the number and the type of prescriptions received from patients who are legally allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The survey also revealed that a significant number of these patients are from rural areas and poor, urban populations.
The number of patients in these communities has increased in the past few years.
“In urban areas, a large number of the patients are also patients from other states.
They come from different states and also from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” said Dr Prakash Khanna, director of the CCE.CSE estimates that more than 100,000 cannabis users in India suffer from conditions that include PTSD, schizophrenia, epilepsy and cancer.
“Many of these are not able to access their prescribed medicine in the private sector because they cannot afford it,” said Khanna.
The CSE study, which surveyed 7,000 people across six states and five Union Territories, found that over 90 per cent of the people surveyed had used medicinal cannabis.
But many of these respondents did not have access to medical cannabis because of lack of funds or other barriers.
“Most of the medical cannabis patients we spoke to are farmers and fishermen,” said Chaudhary Kumar, a medical cannabis patient from Uttar Pradesh.
“The rural areas are poor and lack basic infrastructure.
They are also the least connected to medical facilities in other states.”
The survey found that a large majority of respondents said that they have been prescribed cannabis by a licensed dispensary but the dispensary was not able or willing to deliver the medicine to them.
According to the survey, almost half of the respondents said they had given up on medicinal cannabis altogether.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which represents medical professionals, has also voiced concerns.
“There are many issues that are hindering the access of medicinal cannabis to the public.
The availability of cannabis is not being regulated, and the system is not ready for regulation,” IMA president Ramesh Prakesh said.
“It is a very difficult time to start the legal market in India, given the lack of regulation.”
The IMA also said that there is a need for stronger regulations to regulate the medicinal cannabis market in the country.
“A system for regulating the medicinal markets in India needs to be in place and a licensing regime must be in effect to ensure that there are no diversionary practices or illegal activities,” the IMA said in a statement.