Medical cannabis
is a scam

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Let us begin by being very clear about two things, neither the human body or mind can function well without cannabinoids and cannabis plants are unusually prolific producers of cannabinoids. Your own benevolent endocannabinoid keeps you happy and healthy, whatever the weather.

For thousands of years humans have farmed cannabis for food, fibre and medicine. At the beginning of the 20th century, pharmacists sold cannabis oil over the counter for countless indications.

In the 1960s researchers isolated THC and CBD, the principal active cannabinoids found on the plant’s sticky flowers. Two years after this breakthrough the UK Government classified cannabis as a drug of abuse with no medicinal value.

After discovering cannabinoids, researchers abroad turned their attention to physiological responses observed in humans. Meanwhile the UK the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs recommended cannabis be rescheduled to permit scientific research. The government instead tightened restrictions on the kinds of academic study that could be conducted.

The identification of the endocannabinoid system will likely go down in history books as one of the great discoveries in medical science, at least it would if it weren’t associated with cannabis.

It’s incredible that oils produced on cannabis plants are able to nourish and sustain the nervous system, whist also regulating a diverse range of vital functions around the body –cannabis medicine’s rejection by NHS decision makers is n immoral. As Voltaire had it: ‘Every man is guilty of the good he does not do’.

It wasn’t until 2018 that the government conceded cannabis might, potentially, be prescribed as a medicine. In the interim generations of medical professionals have gone through the health service without so much as a pamphlet on the endocannabinoid system.

Without experience of the plant, clinicians err on the side of caution and avoid prescribing cannabis when there are plenty of pharmaceutical drugs on available a la carte.

Health boards enforce anti-cannabis prescribing policies, restricting the tools that doctors have to work with. The UK has more private cannabis clinics than NHS patients receiving cannabis on prescription.

Remember all the children whose severe, life-threatening epilepsy made the Home Office change the law? Most of them still take cannabis oil, but their parents pay for every drop. Instead of making memories, families live in perpetual campaign mode asking for donations to keep their child alive.

The government simply won’t address the vacuum of cannabis experience in NHS or broader public life. Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP promised cannabis on the NHS within 6 months. That was two years ago and while the world has changed considerably but cannabis patients in the UK are still treated as a novelty act, or accused of playing the system for ‘legal weed’.

So, what reception is the private provision of medical cannabis receiving? At best it’s a mixed bag; many patients have clinicians who agree that cannabis is a terrific opportunity for managing health and wellbeing.

However, just as many patients are priced out of the system, or give up after navigating the bureaucracy of private medical care. Worse still, there are reports of sub-standard cannabis products being delivered. Leaving patients little choice but to return to street dealers.

Despite the glacial pace of change in the policy world there has been a slew of headlines connecting Conservative party politicians to medical cannabis companies. Just this year Dr Daniel Poulter MP was appointed non-executive director of Kanab Group, a business selling cannabis vaporisers. Dr.Poulter, a practicing psychiatrist, incredibly, finds time to deal weed on the side!

There are many examples of parliamentarians profiting from the UK’s unusual cannabis legislation, including former Drugs Policy Minister Victoria Atkins MP and former Home Secretary and Prime Minster Theresa May MP.

There are other moneymaking schemes in the burgeoning cannabis industry – Cancard and MediCann ID sell membership schemes offering legal protection to cannabis patients.

The products they sell are similar to America’s ‘weed cards’ but, in reality, they have no official backing. In 6 months, Cancard raised over half a million pounds selling plastic rectangles. The NHS, police and government do not endorse these cards.

Sour grapes? Nah, not my vibe! The Hemp Community was the first Social Enterprise in the UK to work with cannabis products, selling CBD supplements, more importantly we support people. As a non-profit business we seek to do our best by our community, even if it means passing over the lucrative opportunities that are emerging in the private sector.

In the next couple of years the US Federal Government is likely to decriminalise or even legalise cannabis and there will be a rush of corporate lobbyists and money-men approaching policy makers in countries like the UK, in fact the process has already begun. The sheer volume of money to be made in the cannabis industry will be irresistible to spreadsheet-minded men and women who are unaffected by cannabis medicine but financially very interested.

Many big steps have been taken to safeguard the investments of companies like British Sugar PLC, GW Pharmaceuticals and Kanabo Group. The same cannot be said of the health and wellbeing of cannabis patients who face the same barriers to access that they did a few years ago.

Cui Bono. Cui Malo. ■

Dan Collins

This year Dr Daniel Poulter MP was appointed non-executive director of Kanab Group. A business that sells cannabis vaporisers

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