BlogAre you medicating with Dispenseree?

Are you medicating with Dispenseree?

8 min read

Sarah Sinclair

Are you medicating with Dispenseree

With millions of people thought to be self-medicating with cannabis in the UK, websites like Dispenseree have become increasingly popular despite their illegality. But there are numerous risks when it comes to buying cannabis online, especially when it's for medicinal use.

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There are many reasons why someone may choose to buy cannabis online, it could be related to cost, accessibility, or even due to a lack of awareness of its availability on prescription.

But while it might seem like an easier option, there are many risks when using Dispenseree and alternatives. We take a look at these sites in more detail and examine the benefits of accessing medical cannabis from a CQC-registered clinic with the guidance of a specialist doctor. 

Dispenseree: a quick overview 

What is Dispenseree?

‘Dispenseroo’, or as it is now known, Dispenseree, is an online retailer selling illegal cannabis products in the UK.

It hit the headlines in 2022 after unauthorised adverts for its services were spotted across London. 

It’s not entirely clear how they got away with the advertising campaign, but at the time, those behind the startup gave interviews to a number of mainstream media outlets, claiming to sell tens of thousands of pounds worth of products a week.

However, its play on the well-known branding of food delivery firm, Deliveroo, soon landed it in legal trouble. 

A few months later the online food giant made an official complaint with Dispenseroo’s website registrar and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, saying the brand was infringing on its trademark.

The brand subsequently changed its name to Dispenseree, but appeared to continue with business as usual. 

Is Dispenseree legal?

Websites like Dispenseree are unlikely to be considered legal. The products it sells contain levels of THC which are above the legal 0.2% THC threshold, making them prohibited for over the counter sales and consumption in the UK under the Controlled Substances Act. 

Is Dispenseree legit?

There have been mixed reports online around a so-called ‘Dispenseree exit scam’. On a Reddit thread entitled ‘DispensereeRefugees’ a number of customers have shared negative experiences after the site was reportedly hacked on 15 December, 2023. 

Some people say their orders preceding this date have not been fulfilled, while others have had issues with orders arriving late or with items missing, and many report poor communication from the company. 

Although some efforts appear to have been made to rectify this by offering customers discount codes, it’s not clear whether the issues are a case of bad management at best, or something more sinister. 

There are always risks when you try to buy cannabis online UK and its illegality means there is little protection available for customers. The conflicting reports should serve as a red flag to err on the side of caution. 

Dispenseree alternatives: what to know 

Dispenseree is not the only website selling cannabis illegally online, although it may be among the first to do so in such an obvious way. 

Since it hit the headlines, a number of Dispenseree alternatives have tried similar stunts, distributing adverts and flyers around UK cities.

You may also have seen sites like Dispenseree, such as ‘Weed Supermarket UK’ or ‘Blaze Runner’ mentioned online or in Reddit threads. It is not possible to verify whether any of these are legitimate and, of course, they are also likely to be operating illegally.

Experts would always recommend accessing medical cannabis from a regulated and compliant medical cannabis clinic with the support of a specialist doctor. 

Buying medical cannabis online 

Can I buy medical cannabis from websites like Dispenseree?

In the UK medical cannabis is only legal when prescribed by a doctor on the specialist register.

The founder of Dispenseree previously told the media that many of its customers were using its products for medicinal purposes and to treat “complex illnesses”. This is very possible — statistics show that more than 1.4 million people in the UK are thought to be 'self-medicating’ with cannabis. 

However it is important to be clear that anyone buying these products (whether for medicinal or recreational use) is considered to be acting illegally in the eyes of the law. Those who are medicinal users are also leaving themselves open to greater risks of potential harms and adverse effects by accessing unregulated cannabis without clinical oversight from an expert. 

Legal risks

Buying cannabis illegally online comes with a number of risks and potential repercussions, the most obvious being the possibility of landing yourself in legal trouble.

As a Schedule 1, Class B drug, those caught in possession of cannabis risk a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, with cultivating carrying a maximum sentence of up to 14 years.

Beyond this, the lack of a prescription to give you the legal right to administer your medication as and when you need to, may lead to issues with other authorities such as landlords and/or  employers, particularly if you are subject to workplace drug testing. 

Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go before the medicinal use of cannabis is understood and accepted by many in mainstream healthcare, particularly in the treatment of mental health conditions. Some patients have reported issues accessing statutory services such as NHS mental health support or social care, after having disclosed their use of illegal cannabis, even medicinally. 

Likewise, patients with young children who are seen to be breaking the law could be at risk of potential safeguarding concerns being raised.

Health and safety 

When dealing with any medicine or product for human consumption, it is important to understand what is in it and any potential safety risks. 

All medical cannabis products which are prescribed in the UK must be produced under strict EU-GMP conditions. They undergo rigorous testing for contaminants and to ensure they meet specific quality benchmarks, providing a level of assurance for patients and doctors. 

However, cannabis bought illegally through black markets like Dispenseree lack the quality control measures of that which is legally prescribed, making it challenging to determine its purity and potency.  Like many plants, cannabis is prone to contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, and other impurities that can be present in unregulated products.

Levels of THC also tend to be higher in unregulated cannabis products, so patients may be more likely to experience adverse effects.

When you are prescribed medical cannabis through a CQC-registered clinic you have the peace of mind that comes with clinical oversight and can work with your doctor to ensure you are on the right product and dosage for your needs.

Stigma in society 

As a result of decades of prohibition, there is still a lot of stigma associated with cannabis in society—even when it's being used for medicinal purposes.

Having a legal prescription can help validate your medicinal use, especially if you need to administer your medication in public places, and could help if you run into challenges explaining your circumstances to family and friends. 

While unfortunately a prescription is not a sure-fire way to ensure you don’t experience these issues in the community, it does provide you with legitimacy and legal protection. 

Releaf also offers every patient a medical cannabis card which offers a quick and easy way to validate your prescription should you need to. 

How to access medical cannabis legally in the UK 

In the UK a number of specialist clinics now prescribe medical cannabis for a wide range of conditions, from chronic pain to mental health conditions and neurodivergent disorders such as ADHD and autism. 

Any doctor on the specialist register can prescribe medical cannabis if they believe it to be clinically appropriate for the patient, although usually you are expected to have tried at least two conventional treatments unsuccessfully. 

If you think you have a condition which you think might benefit from treatment with medical cannabis, you can use Releaf’s free eligibility checker. 

A team of expert clinicians will review your application and if appropriate you will be invited to schedule an appointment with a specialist consultant.

If, during the initial consultation, the clinician decides cannabis is right for you, they will issue your prescription and guide you through the next steps. 

Find out more via the FAQs page or contact a member of the team.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Authors

Sarah, a distinguished journalist with over a decade in publishing and communications, now excels in cannabis health and policy journalism in the UK, advocating for informed health decisions through her award-winning work.

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Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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