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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

VIDEO. After 50 Years of Campaigning for Access to Cannabis as Medicine, at last MPs Have Started to Listen

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Sir Mike Penning MP opening the debate on 20th May 2019

For 50 years campaigners have been battering on the doors of Parliament, writing to and meeting their MPs, presenting detailed, cogent arguments backed up with scientific evidence. We have fought. We have argued. We have marched, demonstrated, pleaded, begged and we have been rejected. We have been ignored, abused, ostracised, treated like drug pushers and with contempt by those who are supposed to govern us within a democratic system.

Now at last they are listening. They have opened their eyes and their ears and they finally seem to understand. Of course, now they are all congratulating themselves on ‘their’ efforts and achievements but that is the nature of MPs. We, who have fought this war and see victory in sight will just have to swallow that. History will record the courage and the suffering of those who were in the front line when MPs refused even to speak to us.  Never forget, it is less than two years since a senior cabinet minster told me “the settled view of ministers is that the medicinal campaign is just an excuse to take cannabis”.

Yesterday’s debate in Parliament shows that MPs have finally got the message and we can at last be certain that cannabis will soon be widely and readily available to those who need it.

Watch the debate here.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

May 22, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Biography, Health, Politics

Tagged with , , ,

The CBD Market Can Help Drive Cannabis Law Reform But Selling So-Called ‘CBD Flowers’ Could Take Us Backwards

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Jim Weathers of Puff ‘n Stuff CBD shop, Cork, Ireland

Compliant businesses operating responsibly within the legal cannabis sector will help to drive reform. Blurring the lines between legal and illegal products will delay progress.

It seems that the crackdown on the open sale of cannabis flowers online and in high street stores is here.  Both in the UK and Ireland, several shops have been raided in recent weeks and some people are facing potential charges of supplying a class B drug and a possible jail sentence.

These flowers, sold under meaningless pseudonyms such as ‘CBD buds’ or ‘hemp flowers’ are cannabis and cannabis is a controlled drug in both the UK and Ireland.  As CLEAR has been warning for many months, there is no way that these can ever be ‘exempt products’ in the same way as CBD oil.  Their THC content makes no difference. The penalty is the same for any type of cannabis whether it contains zero THC or 25% THC.

It’s unclear whether CBD oil is legal at all in Ireland.  A more accurate description for these products is low-THC cannabis extracts and whereas the UK makes specific provision for exempt products in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, there does not seem to be any such provision in Irish law.

In other EU countries an even wider crackdown on CBD products is underway, fuelled also by the extraordinary and clearly unsustainable attempt to deem all cannabis extracts as ‘novel foods’.

Now it shouldn’t need to be said but CLEAR stands for an end to the prohibition of cannabis and all our work is directed towards that end.  Some people seem very confused that our efforts to clarify the law mean that we are on the side of prohibition but this is not the case.  Through our trade association, Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro) we refuse to certify businesses that sell cannabis flowers.  They are cheating their customers by misleading them that these products are legal.  They are also cheating all those other businesses operating within the legal cannabis sector who are working hard to remain compliant.  They are undermining the very good work that the CBD industry is doing to drive wider cannabis law reform.

Of course, many of us are buying cannabis illegally already.  Without our local dealers where would we all be under the oppressive and ridiculous regime under which we live? But our aim and the aim of all responsible cannabis campaigns is to ‘get the dealers off the street’ and move the trade into licensed, regulated outlets.  The emergence of the CBD market and high street retailers selling CBD oil has shown how this could work and there is no doubt at all that it has been a very significant factor in increasing public acceptance of cannabis and the recent reforms for medical access.

The people selling cannabis flowers and claiming they are legal are not heroes, campaigners or warriors in the war on prohibition. They are confidence tricksters, seizing the opportunity to make a quick buck by cheating and endangering their customers. No one is going to go to jail for buying cannabis but if you’ve bought low THC flowers and get charged with possession that could ruin you future prospects of travel, a career, even of keeping your driving licence.  If you’re going to take that risk you need to do so with your eyes open, with the honest trade of an illegal dealer rather than the dishonest trade of a shop or a website that is telling you lies.

Also, be very careful what you are buying.  The ‘CBD flowers’ currently being advertised are most certainly not what they claim to be.  The strain names are being misused.  White Widow, Lemon Haze or Pineapple Express do not come with 20% CBD and only traces of THC.  These products have been doctored.  There simply aren’t any cannabis strains that contain these constituents in these proportions.  What is probably happening is that they are being sprayed with CBD isolate and possibly terpene extracts to come with what are artificial cannabis buds.  Buy these and you are being cheated on many levels and you really don’t know what you are actually inhaling.

We are making steady and accelerating progress towards a rational cannabis policy but this latest development is unwelcome and unhelpful.  Trust your usual dealer.  If you’re buying cannabis flower, it comes with THC.  If you want added CBD take a little oil or vape some CBD crumble.  This will give you a far better result than these fake flowers. It will enhance the therapeutic properties of your cannabis if you’re consuming for medical reasons.  It will give you a far better buzz if you’re consuming for pleasure.

Nothing good will come from these fake flowers. Compliant businesses operating responsibly within the legal cannabis sector will help to drive reform. Blurring the lines between legal and illegal products will delay progress.

 

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 21, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Ignorant Doctors Bring Shame On Their Profession With Foolish Words on Cannabis

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What is it in these British Isles that has resulted in a medical establishment that uses prejudice, scaremongering and specious argument to object to the medical use of cannabis?

The astonishing ignorance that pervades the medical profession on this subject is demonstrated once again by a ridiculous letter in today’s Irish Times.  In a display of hubris, arrogance and plain stupidity, these people who assume they are due our respect, have conflated the issues of medical and recreational use in the most  destructive and confusing way.  These doctors are fundamentally failing in their duty to ‘do no harm’ both in undermining progress towards use of cannabis as medicine and in not providing this medicine to their patients immediately.

The sheer stupidity of the argument advanced by these doctors is breathtaking. They object to progress towards medical availablility by promoting the old chestnut of cannabis in recreational use causing psychosis. Their point is entirely irrelevant, it has nothing to do with medical use. It is no different from denying morphine to patients to control the most severe pain, following an operation, severe injury or at end-of-life, because some people use heroin as a recreational drug. It is a shameful, illogical, irrational and deeply cruel argument that shoud rest heavily on these doctors’ consciences.

And the psychosis argument is nothing but scaremongering anyway.  The evidence clearly shows that the risk of cannabis use correlating with a diagnosis of psychosis is one in 20,000.  As the National Geographic reports, the risk of being struck by lightning in one’s lifetime is merely one in 3,000.

The letter then descends into further evidence-free scaremongering, again totally irrelevant to the use of cannabis as medicine. The risks of cannabis are vastly and dishonestly exaggerated by doctors who clearly have no real idea what they are putting their names to.

It’s a disgrace that this letter has been composed and submitted to the Irish Times and the doctors’ new campaign group, the Cannabis Risk Alliance, is a fraud.

Shame on these quacks who have brought their profession into disrepute and stand in the way of providing proper medical care to their patients.  This must be the final nail in the coffin of unquestioning respect and belief in doctors.  They have shown beyond doubt that they do not deserve to be held in such high regard.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 21, 2019 at 1:02 pm

The EU’s Attempt To Deem Cannabis Extracts As Novel Foods Will Fail.

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Status of Hemp Extracts in Europe – European Industrial Hemp Association

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has published an excellent eight page document which refutes the recent move by EU food safety agencies to deem cannabis extracts as ‘novel foods’.

Download the document here.

The document explains the entire situation and demonstrates very clearly that this move by the EU is misguided. It shows how these products have been consumed in Europe fro many years, if not centuries, probably millennia and that the EU has previously confirmed in writing that they are not novel.

Aside from these fundamental issues, there are a number of reasons why the process the EU and the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) have followed is flawed and unlawful.

What seems absolutely clear is that this initiative, which is intended to close down the burgeoning CBD market, is based on the intervention of vested interests which are concerned to see a multimillion pound/euro industry emerge in the space of a few years, almost exclusively amongst small and medium-sized businesses.  This is an opportunity which multinational conglomerates have missed and there is no doubt that its success is affecting many existing markets, notably over-the-counter pain medicines.

The EU and government agencies such as the FSA have always been the friends of big business and the intention here has been to force small business into huge costs associated with novel food authorisation which would effectively close their businesses down.

There are many overblown conspiracy theories, particularly around cannabis for medical use and the pharmaceutical industry but this attack on the CBD market, for no valid reason, is difficult to explain in any other way. It seems certain that improper pressure has been brought to bear on these regulators and they are trying to use their powers, improperly and unlawfully, to protect the interests of big business.

They are too late.  The CBD business has grown very quickly and is now too far advanced to be closed down and there is no justifiable reason to do so.  This attempt to impose novel foods status will fail.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 13, 2019 at 10:20 am

CBD Switzerland. Whole Plant Extract From Swiss-Grown Industrial Hemp.

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Although something in my value system, no doubt instilled in my now very distant childhood, tells me that medicine is supposed to taste bad, there is no strict correlation between nasty taste and powerful effect.  Some cannabis extracts taste foul, others are bearable and there a few that capture the distinctive, earthy taste of the plant and are really very nice.

The first time I saw a bottle of CBD Switzerland oil, I was pretty sceptical.  It’s virtually crystal clear and I thought this is isolate in a carrier oil or it’s had all the goodness refined out of it – but the taste is just wonderful. The new trend for cooking with cannabis is a strange mix of hype, ignorance, fad-of-the-moment veganism and in a few cases its about getting high but there is a cannabis taste that is really desirable and works well in both sweet and savoury dishes.  CBD Switzerland has captured that taste in a bottle.

The lab tests and a week of regular use confirmed for me that this is very much the real thing.  There are other oils that I also rate very highly for taste but the combination of taste and clarity is stunning and I expect it is what more and more consumers will be looking for as the CBD market matures.  This is probably the most modern, consumer friendly oil on the market. No doubt, a little further down the line, the same expertise in extraction and refinement can be applied to a THC product and that will be a winner.

CBD Switzerland offers its oil in virtually any specification required, either zero THC or with the trace levels that are present in a full spectrum extract from plants with 0.2% THC.  Standard concentrations are 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% or 25% in either hempseed or MCT carrier oil.  Full spectrum soft gels are available containing 10mg CBD each.  Recently a THC-free distillate has been added with either 95% or 75% CBD content, a full spectrum, liposomal, water soluble mix and CBD vape liquid.  As a white label supplier, CBD Switzerland offers everything that a CBD business could need to formulate and produce its own products.

Download the CBD Switzerland brochure here.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 25, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Review. ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Medical Cannabis’ by Prof. Michael Barnes

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There was just one word which came immediately to mind as I began to read this book – clear.  It is a paragon of clarity and although I am very familiar with Mike’s writing, in personal emails as well as published works, he has exceeded my expectations and this is a truly excellent book.

In fact, I think it undersells itself.  It is far from a ‘beginner’s guide’, it is a definitive guide and without overcomplicating anything, it covers everything of importance, accurately and clearly.  There is also a place for a more technical guide but that is for a tiny audience. If doctors would read this book it would provide them with everything they need to know and a lot more than they do know about many drugs they prescribe every day.

It provides an excellent explantion of what cannabis is and how it works and a very practical guide to the endocannabinoid system.  It looks at which medical conditions cannabis can help with, side effects, drug interactions and the legal position in different parts of the world.  It also covers the history of cannabis and its prohibition.

Mike is unerringly accurate and I couldn’t find the slightest thing that I disagreed with, which is extremely unusual for a pedant like me.  The proof reading leaves a lot to be desired and this is something I have noticed in several recently published books. It seems to be something publishers are skimping on.  So while there’s no need to die in a ditch for it, mistakes like this, on page 111, are best avoided: “Wild cannabis, sometimes known as feral cannabis or dickweed[sic]…”

I hope Mike will forgive me when I say that this book really does make the truth about cannabis clear.  Buy it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginners-Guide-Medical-Cannabis-Guides/dp/1912798069

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 24, 2019 at 4:57 pm

The Desperate Rearguard Action the British Medical Establishment is Fighting Against Cannabis

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Professor Finbar O’Callaghan

This Arrogant Man Must Face Tough Questions About his Stance on

Cannabis, his Financial Interests and his Breathtaking Hypocrisy.

Professor Finbar O’Callaghan introduced himself at the recent oral evidence session of the Health and Social Care Committee in these terms:

“My name is Professor Finbar O’Callaghan and I am here as president of the British Paediatric Neurology Association which is the association which represents all paediatric neurologists in the UK. I’m also a consultant paediatric neurologist at Great Ormond Street, an epileptologist and professor of paediatric neuroscience at UCL. I have a particular interest in epidemiology and clinical trials and in particular running clinical trials in childhood epilepsy.”

It’s hardly surprising then that in such a pre-eminent position, his opinion on the use of medical cannabis in paediatric epilepsy is regarded as if it had the force of law amongst doctors.  But I point you to his final sentence and his declared adherence to the doctrine and close involvement in the multi-million pound industry of clinical trials.

Note that Professor O’Callaghan is now becoming the medical establishment’s poster boy in opposing the prescription of cannabis as medicine.  He is now disparaging its use for fibromyalgia in adults, something he is no more qualified about than a junior medical student.

Clinical trials cost tens of millions of pounds (at least) and their primary purpose, at which they do not always succeed, is to ensure the safety of experimental medicines, usually single molecule drugs, synthesised in a laboratory, which may be highly toxic.  All such trials are financed by the pharmaceutical industry with the intention of gaining a licence (known as a marketing authorisation) to enable them to sell their medicines at what are invariably huge prices. The businesses and people involved in the clinical trials process earn vast amounts of money and have a vested interest in ensuring that the regulation of all medicines follows this route.

All clinical trials are conducted under the auspices of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), a government agency which is directed, managed and staffed almost exclusively by people who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry. They all continue to benefit financially from the self-reinforcing, self-regulating and self-serving medical establishment which is built on the pharmaceutical industry and its invention of clinical trials.

Clinical trials are the medical establishment’s ‘kool aid’.  They are a panacea for doctors’ ethical and clinical decision making.  If anything goes wrong, even the most horrendous, catastrophic results, if a doctor has prescribed a medicine which has been through the clinical trials procedure, they can wash their hands, disavow any responsibility and move on to their next ‘doctoring-by-numbers’ appointment.  Increasingly, doctors make very few real decisions. Their actions are all pre-determined by protocols and drugs created and approved by the medical establishment.

So cannabis really doesn’t fit into this system and for Professor O’Callaghan unless any medicine goes through a clinical trial in the specialty which he behaves as if he owns – childhood eplipesy, it will never be good enough to get his endorsement and will therefore be shut out of normal practice and very difficult if not impossible for patients to access.  It is, in fact, a ‘stitch-up’.  A term the Professor will understand as he advocates slicing into a child’s brain in a surgical procedure before trying whole plant cannabis as a medicine.

Note that cannabis is not an experimental medicine, nor a single molecule drug, synthesised in a laboratory, nor is it highly toxic.  It consists of around 500 molecules, is synthesised in a plant and has been in widespread use, we know beyond doubt, for at least 10,000 years.  Currently it is in regular use by 250,000,000 people worldwide as a recreational substance.  In modern times it has been in use as a medicine in Israel since the early 1990s, California since 1996, in Canada and the Netherlands since 2001.  There is no evidence of any significant problems or side effects at a population level, none whatsoever where it is used as a medicine under medical supervision. The only evidence of any significant negative effects is where it is used in extremely potent form as a recreational substance by children and even then the numbers involved are tiny.

This is why in every jurisdiction throughout the world where cannabis for medical use is legally permitted, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation. Every other government that has recognised the enormous benefit that it offers has come to the same conclusion: cannabis is a special case. It is much, much safer than pharmaceutical products. We need an ‘Office of Medicinal Cannabis’ as there is in the Netherlands, or ‘Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations’ as administered by Health Canada. Colorado has its ‘Medical Marijuana Registry Program’ and other US states have similar arrangements. Israel’s Ministry of Health has its ‘Medical Cannabis Unit’. In Australia, its equivalent of the MHRA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has established its own set of medical cannabis regulations.

None of this fits into Professor O’Callaghan’s model.  His career and his income is founded on clinical trials and specifically in childhood epilepsy, regardless of the facts of actual experience in thousands of patients, he is going to do everything he can to prevent its use except on his terms.  He has a glaring and outrageous conflict of interest and the failure of any other doctor to point this out simply demonstrates how powerful is the medical establishment and its mafia-like control of our healthcare system.

In his written submission to the Health and Social Care Committee, O’Callaghan had the audacity to attack Professor Mike Barnes, based on a scurrilous article in the tabloid Mail on Sunday, for his “significant financial interests in the cannabis industry”.  He also attacks everyone else who has any knowledge or experience in the area, denigrating them as “experts” (in inverted commas).  O’Callaghan’s hypocrisy is breathtaking and it is time the sycophantic, uncritical reporting of his opinions was highlighted. I have no doubt that he is an “expert” but he is not the only one and there are paediatric neurologists in Canada, the Netherlands and elsewhere whose knowledge and experience of prescribing cannabis vastly exceeds his own.  He needs taking down a peg or two in the interests of children – and now adults – whose care he is interfering with.

Cannabis as medicine has never gone away, despite the best efforts of vested interests and the medical establishment to kill it off. After almost a century of being demonised by governments, the media and every quack on a mission, whether qualified or not, it is here to stay. This doctrine of pharmaceutical drugs, clinical trials and ruthless suppression of empirical knowledge has only been around for that same 100 years.  Modern, reductionist medicine has great deal to offer but so does the wisdom of ages and the plants that have long helped us cure, heal and maintain our health.  They can co-exist and we must put aside arrogance and self-interest in order best to serve the people.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm