Peter Reynolds

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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Five Reasons Why Boris Johnson Should Legalise Cannabis Now

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1. Popularity

Polls confirm that a majority of British voters support reform of our cannabis laws. More than three-quarters are strongly supportive of medicinal cannabis.  There has been a sea change in attitude, also strongly accelerated by the rise of the CBD market, itself born entirely out of small, entrepreneurial British businesses. Boris could catch this wave, delight more than half of the electorate immediately with a bold, radical move and dispel much of the ‘nasty party’, authoritarian mood that has come out of the Covid crisis. Properly explained, a new policy can also deal with the concerns that still remain about cannabis. It should be presented as a solution to the four further reasons set out below and because, in 2020 no one wants to see their son, daughter, mother or father turned into a criminal just for cannabis.  A large majority of electors support this.

2. Mental health

For many years, politicians have been advocating that mental health should be treated with the same priority as physical health. The Conservative Party has promised it repeatedly over the past decade. For those that fear cannabis contributes to young people’s problems, legal regulation is, without doubt, the solution. Age limits and licensed rather than criminal distribution channels will minimuse underage use. Proper labelling and limits on THC content of licensed cannabis will protect against the negative effects of so-called ‘skunk’.  For the millions that we know already use cannabis actually to help with their mental health, particularly during lockdown, it will enable access to new, safely controlled and designed products with ideal ratios of CBD and other ingredients. These will be far preferable to the massive bill both in NHS expenditure and side effects that we currently pay for tranquilisers, anti-depressants, sleeping and anxiety medicines.

3. Tax revenue

The potential for an enormous net gain to the British economy, turning what is now only a drain on resources into a new revenue stream is huge. Serious, erudite work has been completed by a number of well-respected institutions. The most pessimistic estimate a net gain of about £1 billion. The most optimistic projections are 10 times as much. Looking to actual experience around the world, most likely is somewhere in the middle, perhaps around the £6.7 billion that the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit calculated in its 2011 study. As we emerge from the Covid crisis into a deep recession, cutting our costs and increasing our income are going to be vital and cannabis isn’t going away. We have to choose whether to waste money on it or make money from it. Cannabis legalisation won’t just cover its own costs but provide billions more that can be added to the public expenditure budget – and we are going to need every penny.

4. Jobs

About 250,000 people work in the legal cannabis industry in the USA and numbers are expected to grow significantly as legalisation expands. That’s equivalent to creating about 50,000 new jobs in the UK. A legally regulated cannabis industry would create huge investment in sophisticated cultivation and production facilities, distribution and retail channels. The CBD industry has already created hundreds of new businesses and thousands of new jobs in the way that only new industries can. We can already see that the push back from big business and big pharma that have missed out on this boom is about destroying jobs and stifling innovation. The path that the EU and the FSA are trying to force the CBD industry down is really about protectionism for the established pharmaceutical and supplement industries.  We are going to need new markets, new thinking and fresh ideas to create new jobs.

5. Crime and violence

The long held ‘gateway’ myth that consuming cannabis ‘leads on to harder drugs’ has been disproven over and over again by science. It’s still strangely prevalent amongst the poorly informed but even the UK government’s expert advisors formally rejected it in 2008. The laws against cannabis and the £6 billion criminal market that they have created is the gateway to deliquency, knife crime, county lines exploitation and hard drugs. The police and our political leaders have found themselves on the same side as organised crime, for they share the desire to keep cannabis banned. The public demand is not going away and a responsible government would act to regulate the market, to make it safer and to protect consumers. The criminal cannabis market is how young people get groomed and enticed into county lines and it’s what drives knife crime. It drives and funds much more serious crime. It is undermining our society. It really is one of the most idiotic, irrational and counterproductive of all government policies.  A legally regulated market will pull the rug from under this nightmare scenario.  As Canada has proved, within two years, around 50% of the market has already moved to legal channels and the damage caused by nearly a century of prohibition is gradually being undone.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Seeing Green. A Film About Perspective, Family and Weed

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CLEAR is proud to present a new campaign film, in partnership with the filmmaker Tom McNie, whose work paints a portrait of cannabis use among ordinary British families, in ordinary British households up and down the country.

As the law stands; these characters – whose actions, rather than an act of curiosity or need – have made them criminals, face prison and an unlimited fine. Such is the prevalence of cannabis in British society that these laws have become untenable, with former Metropolitan Police Chief Bernard Hogan-Howe urging for reform and, in 2018, Mike Barton, Durham Chief of Police arguing that the prohibition of cannabis damages public safety, puts users in more danger and gives billions of pounds to organised crime and gangsters which in turn drives knife crime and county lines exploitation.

We hope that this film shines a spotlight on the issue and fosters positive debate about cannabis use in Britain.

Enjoy the film. Share it with friends and family and help us put an end to criminalisation of cannabis consumers.  Let’s get the dealers off the streets and into regulated, licensed retailers for a safer, healthier Britain.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 21, 2020 at 11:18 am

The Truth About Why The NHS Is Refusing to Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis

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The reason it is impossible to get medicinal cannabis prescribed on the NHS is not really about doctors’ clinical judgement. There are a growing number of doctors that do want to prescribe but they are being blocked by NHS bureaucrats and the senior clinicians that are responsible for drafting professional guidelines.

Although they aren’t law, these guidelines are what NHS Trusts rely on when they refuse to provide funding.  And this is a huge problem, not just for people in pain who can’t get a medicine that they know works, but for the fundamental nature of our democracy and government. The NHS medical establishment is defying the will of Parliament. It is through Parliament that we make policy in this country and MPs have decided that medicinal cannabis should be made available.

This decision was made by Parliament based on medical evidence from around the world that millions of people gain great benefit from cannabis. Of course, the potential side effects were considered and will have been compared with the side effects of other medicines, particularly the highly addictive and life-threatening nature of opioids. Although you wouldn’t know it from all the scaremongering, there are no case reports anywhere in the world of patients receiving cannabis under medical supervision coming to any significant harm. There is no doubt that cannabis is safe as a medicine. Those opposed to it, usually with vested financial interests, are trying to second guess and undermine a decision that has already been made, often with spurious claims of harms caused by smoking it in its most potent form as a recreational drug.

It’s time that the medical establishment complied with the law. That doesn’t mean taking instructions from politicians, it means working constructively to deliver what has been decided, not finding excuse after excuse and being as obstructive as possible.

The senior clinicians responsible for drafting the guidelines, from the Royal Colleges and other professional bodies, notably the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA), are the same people who have failed to provide up-to-date medical education on the endocannabinoid system. This is the system through which cannabis exerts its therapeutic effects and is now known to be the largest and most fundamental neurotransmitter system in the body. Yet it is barely covered at all in any UK medical school. These same people are also responsible for running and supervising the clinical trials that pharmaceutical companies use to prove the safety and efficacy of their new products. For this they receive very substantial fees and long-running sponsorship for their institutions.  The conflict of interest is obvious, yet is being entirely overlooked.

Professor Finbar O’Callaghan of the BPNA has single-handedly obstructed NHS access to cannabis by hundreds of children with epilepsy that conventional treatment does not help. He describes his professional interests as having “particular emphasis on epidemiology and clinical trials“.  If a cannabis-based medicine for paediatric epilepsy was to be trialled, Professor O’Callaghan would very likely be hired for it.  So it’s hardly surprising that he is opposed to any medicine that hasn’t been through a clinical trial!  It’s worth repeating – the conflict of interest is obvious, yet is being entirely overlooked.

Vested interests mean many doctors prefer to prescribe unlimited quantities of opioids, benzodiazepines and senior clinicians are more focused on earning fees from clinical trials than looking at evidence that is already available. We have a regulatory system which is designed by pharma, for pharma, administered by ex-pharma employees and cannabis is a threat. When the UK eventually gets a domestic cannabis production industry, prices will plummet and we will have a safe, cheap, palliative medicine that can help with many conditions.

Most of the 1.4 million people in the UK already using medicinal cannabis are still breaking the law.  This is astonishing when you think our Parliament acted two years ago to ensure they didn’t have to!  This is all down to a combination of arrogance and ignorance in the far-too-hallowed halls of our oldest medical institutions. Like it or not, medicinal cannabis is now legal and is going to take its rightful place as a first choice medicine in Britain. Let’s put aside the prejudice, put patients’ interests first and start delivering the enormous benefits it can offer.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 6, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Health, Science

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Professor Mike Barnes On The Safety Of Cannabis As Medicine

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“Cannabis is remarkably safe.  We know there are some people who shouldn’t be prescribed cannabis. Those, for example, with schizophrenia or psychosis but for the great majority of the population it’s quite safe to prescribe by a responsible doctor who knows and understands cannabis.

We shouldn’t forget, there’s more we know about the safety of cannabis than any other medicine in the history of man.  The reason for that is 165 million people on this earth use cannabis every day for medical, spiritual or recreational purposes. 165 million people. There’s not any pharmaceutical product that could be introduced that has that depth of experience and knowledge of its safety profile. It’s not safe for everyone but it is safe for the great majority and it works for the great majority.  We must try it.”

Source: Professor Mike Barnes, ITV This Morning, 20th August 2020. See: https://youtu.be/aGRPWLY39Pg from 12:41

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 21, 2020 at 11:11 am

Posted in Health, Science

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Priti Patel on Poppers Demonstrates How Corrupt and Irrational Is UK Drugs Policy

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Priti Patel wants to legalise ‘poppers’, a drug with dangerous effects on the heart and eyes, in order to help the sex lives of gay men who account for around 3% of the population. Yet she refuses to legalise cannabis, a drug that is generally very safe, even though it can provide real medicinal benefits for 100% of the population.

‘Poppers’ is the well established street name for alkyl nitrites, a type of drug that is inhaled, producing a massive and almost instantaneous ‘hit’ by relaxing ‘smooth muscle’ which results in the dilation of blood vessels in the brain. This leads to a drop in blood pressure which the heart immediately responds to by increasing its rate and so a huge amount of extra blood surges into the brain.  Crucially, another smooth muscle that is affected is the anal sphincter and so the gay male community has found poppers a useful aid to anal sex. They can fairly be described as making anal sex safer and more pleasant, preventing ruptures or tears.

It would be a good thing to legalise poppers and to regulate their production and supply so that use of them is as safe as possible.  Alongside legal regulation, information on harm reduction could be offered and the whole environment surrounding their use could become much more sensible and civilised. It would be a even better thing to legalise cannabis. All the same benefits of safety and the environment would result but they would affect many millions more people.  In addition, the £6 billion criminal cannabis market, which feeds violence, gangsterism, county lines, hard drug dealing, modern slavery and much more serious crime, would be dealt a terminal blow.  It wouldn’t stop immediately but it would be the beginning of the end and it would transform many aspects of British society. I believe the benefits would be much wider and more far reaching than we can even imagine.

So what can possibly explain this move?  Why would such an irrational policy be proposed by the Home Secretary?

Priti Patel is quite possibly a very pleasant woman and she is to be admired for rising to dizzying heights in  political life despite the prejudice towards both her gender and race.  She has an unfortunate manner and glint in her eye that seems to appeal to to the authoritarian side of the ‘nasty party’, probably exactly why Boris Johnson made her Home Secretary to appease the hard right, for he is essentialy a libertarian.  Why is she so keen to move on poppers but not on other drugs where reforming their legal status is far more urgent and would deliver benefits on a far greater scale?

It’s instructive to recall what happened in Parliament when it first seemed that poppers would be banned under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.  Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP and a prominent advocate for drugs policy reform, declared himself a user of poppers and sure enough, within a few weeks the Home Office had found a way to exclude them from the Act.

 

I expect no one would agree more with me than Crispin Blunt on the urgent need for cannabis to be regulated and, indeed for other drugs, far safer than poppers, such as MDMA (ecstasy). Present policy maximises the dangers of all drugs and while a fatal cannabis overdose is impossible, people do die fom MDMA overdoses because in an unregulated, criminal market no one knows the strength of what they are taking.

There can only be one reason why Ms Patel is making this irrational move on poppers and it’s because she has been subject to lobbying, probably from other MPs who hold the same position as Crispin Blunt.

So while I welcome the legal regulation of poppers, cannabis and MDMA should come first.  It’s no surprise that once again our politicians pursue drugs policy that is irrational and corrupt.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 17, 2020 at 5:25 pm

The Panacea

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Possibly the most frequently heard objection to medicinal use of cannabis is disbelief that one medicine can help with so many different medical conditions. Contempt for this idea most frequently comes from the medical establishment who demonstrate their lack of knowledge of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Still not taught in most medical schools, the ECS is now known to be the largest neurotransmitter network in the body which does indeed impact on every other physiological system. It is a scientific fact, still not understood by many doctors, that cannabis can have beneficial effects on virtually every condition and disease.

Cannabis is a palliative medicine but I have no doubt that the curative powers of cannabinoids, which have already been proven in vitro and animal studies, will one day be harnessed into medicines. In different combinations, perhaps with other cannabis compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, they will successfully treat many cancers, mental health problems, digestive disorders and especially diseases of the immune system.  At this stage though, cannabis is best considered as something that helps us deals with symptoms, particularly chronic pain, mood and sleeping disorders.  In this regard, it is still not properly recognised for the immense benefits it offers, especially that it is so safe, non-toxic and kind to the body and mind.

Cannabis does undoubtedly produce some remarkable curative results. In my judgement these are largely by luck rather than design but cannabis is perhaps the only medicine you can do this with. It is so safe that you can try it and see, experiment with different doses and potentially with different ratios of its many active ingredients.  Very, very few doctors understand this. They are more used to dealing with toxic substances that can produce nasty side effects, which is why they and the NHS bureaucrats who control the purse strings are so dependent on clinical trials. These produce valuable data and safety information for pharmaceutical drugs but it means our physicians have lost the ability to treat patients as individuals, using safe, plant-based therapies.  This wisdom has been swept aside by the pharma industry’s rush for profit and forgotten by many of those who care for us.

So I take the view that cannabis really is a panacea.  Not a cure for everything but a remedy that offers some benefit for every condition.  This relies on another truth that is difficult for the medical establishment to deal with – cannabis is not one medicine but many, perhaps hundreds of different combinations of ingredients, beyond just THC and CBD, beyond terpenes and flavonoids, perhaps including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, essential amino acids, esters, glycosides, enzymes, proteins, sugars, alcohols, ketones, lactones, aldehydes – all the constituents of this remarkable plant. It is this complexity, of course, that makes clinical trials unsuitable for cannabis and its inherent safety that makes them unnecessary.

But I have my personal panacea.  It is made by a good friend who in his professional life produces some of the finest, whole plant, low-THC, high-CBD oils.  In his spare time he turns his lab to more interesting, illicit products.  You will be surprised to learn that my panacea is not a high-THC rocket fuel but a 3:1 ratio CBD:THC blend.  It is a happiness tonic, soothing pain reliever, gentle sleep enhancer and gorgeous elixir for all the aches, pains and complaints of my 63rd year.

I know that if little bottles of this were on pharmacy and supermarket shelves they would sell like hot cakes.  Six drops in a cup of coffee in the morning or hot chocolate before bed – it’s bliss, delight, comfort and it just enhances and smoothes life without any downside, no hangover or side effects at all. Of course, with that ratio it’s completely benign and would be even for an inexperienced cannabis consumer.  When products like this become legally available they will benefit hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those early into the market will probably make a fortune if they can advertise and communicate its benefits effectively.  The really wonderful aspect though is that this can be as cheap as chips.  Made in volume it could sell for just a few pounds, euros or dollars a bottle that will last for weeks.  It really is a panacea although currently, stupidly, in this crazy world we live in, highly illegal.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

If the Mobs on Twitter and Facebook Want to Persecute Someone, Why Don’t They Choose a Deserving Case?

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For instance, what about Professor Finbar O’Callaghan, who has prevented children having access to cannabis medicine for epilepsy while making his living running £ multi-million clinical trials of pharmaceutical drugs?

These are the sort of people who should be hunted down and villified, not some weird eccentric who is a behind the scenes political adviser making private decisions about his own family.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 24, 2020 at 9:42 am

Unfit To Be Any Sort Of Of Police Officer, Let Alone a Chief Constable

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This idiot, Chief Constable Nick Adderley, issued an implied threat that his officers would start setting up roadblocks and searching supermarket trollies to see whether items purchased were necessary.

It’s clear he doesn’t understand the new legislation. In fact his suggestions are so far beyond his powers as to be ridiculous.  In the present difficult circumstances, even for a senior officer who should know better, we should allow some leeway. We should forgive some exaggeration or overstatement.  But Adderley has gone far beyond this.  He’s clearly unfit to be a police officer at any sort of rank with his ignorance and authoritarian instincts wildly out of control.

He should be sacked from his position immediately. There is no room in British policing for someone who behaves like this, whatever the circumstances.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 10, 2020 at 1:23 pm

Life Is A Rollercoaster

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When you’ve been through as much shit as I have in my life, this is just another downward swoop on the rollercoaster. And let’s be honest, if there wasn’t a slight chance that you wouldn’t make it, it wouldn’t be half as much fun!

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 19, 2020 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Biography, Health

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How To Win The Coronavirus War

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Closing things down will not protect us. Only by developing herd immunity will we win the Coronavirus War. So we should be careful to try and slow the rate of infection and vulnerable people need to be in strict hygiene conditions.

In areas where everything is shut down, when people start mixing again the infection will just come back.

We have to accept it in a controlled fashion, then we will develop antibodies and scientists will develop vaccines against it.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 14, 2020 at 8:28 pm