Peter Reynolds

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Posts Tagged ‘Bedrocan

What Happened In The House Of Lords About Cannabis?

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Baroness Molly Meacher

Baroness Molly Meacher

Today, Baroness Molly Meacher asked a question about cannabis in the House of Lords .

There is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about what happened, so I shall do my best to explain.

A video of the eight minute debate is available here.  A full transcript is here.

This was not a full debate.  There never was any prospect of any law being changed.  It was simply a question, which would be answered by the government spokesman and Lady Meacher would then have the opportunity to ask a further, supplementary question.  In the process, other members of the House would be able to interject and make their own comments.

The question was whether cannabis could be re-scheduled, out of schedule one, which determines that it has no medicinal value, to schedule two or three which would allow doctors to prescribe it and also enable researchers to access and use cannabis more easily in studies and clinical trials.

Lord Bates

Lord Bates

The government behaved exactly as expected.  The most generous interpretation is that the spokesman, Lord Bates, was misinformed. His first response to Lady Meacher’s question was to parrot the Home Office’s usual line on cannabis about it being a harmful drug.

This of course, is nothing to do with medicinal use.  Most medicines are far more harmful than cannabis and any potential harms are traded off against therapeutic benefit.

I know some people are already accusing Lord Bates of being a ‘liar’ but this is not true.  He simply has no idea what he is talking about and his briefing from Home Office officials is designed not to inform but to deflect, confuse and retain control within the bureaucracy. The claim that the Advisory Council recommends against medicinal cannabis is factually incorrect. The ACMD is not constituted to advise on the medicinal benefits of any drug.

So ignore what the government said.  It is largely irrelevant to the process of informing and changing minds amongst those in power.  They will instruct officials and spokespeople as necessary once they understand a more successful path forwards.

Lord Howarth

Lord Howarth

The rest of the debate was almost all positive.  Lord Dubs succumbed to the ‘skunk’ myth but who can blame him. given the level of propaganda and hysteria promoted even by ‘public service broadcasters’ such as Channel 4 and and some of our so-called eminent ‘scientists’. Lord Howarth of Newport hit the nail on the head and referred to the terrible difficulty of those who need access to Bedrocan.  He is a stalwart ally of a few, fortunate CLEAR members whose doctors have had the courage to prescribe.

This mini debate was good news.  It was another brick in the wall.  Clearly, attitudes are changing and the facts are beginning to overtake the myths.  Many Lords and MPs are on our side.

As ever, the way forward is relentless, individual, lobbying and informing. We must keep telling truth to power, challenging misinformation and providing knowledge.

Today, in the House of Lords, progress was made.

The Fight For Medicinal Cannabis Reaches The House of Lords.

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Baroness Meacher

Baroness Molly Meacher

Sometime after 3.00pm, tomorrow, Wednesday, 17th June 2015, Baroness Molly Meacher will ask a question in the House of Lords on the re-scheduling of cannabis to permit it to be prescribed by doctors for medicinal use.  Watch it here on Parliament TV.

Professor Val Curran

Professor Val Curran

Behind this is a report ‘Regulating Cannabis for Medical Use in the UK’, authored by Professor Val Curran of UCL and Frank Warburton of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform (APPG).  This sets out an argument for moving cannabis from schedule one to schedule two or three, enabling doctors to prescribe it and facilitating further research on its therapeutic properties. It also endorses the central theme of CLEAR’s medicinal cannabis campaign – that UK doctors should be permitted to prescribe products from Bedrocan, the medicinal cannabis producer regulated by the Dutch government.

The UK is now a very long way behind the rest of the western world on enabling access to cannabis as medicine.  The UK is second only to places like Indonesia, China and Singapore in ignoring evidence and basing drugs policy on prejudice and scaremongering.  The only significant difference is that we don’t execute people for possession of drugs.

bedrocan2

Bedrocan Medicinal Cannabis

In Europe more than 250 million people now have legal access to medicinal cannabis, 210 million in the USA, 35 million in Canada and 8 million in Israel.  A few CLEAR members, with the support of their doctors and the APPG have managed to obtain legal access to Bedrocan medicinal cannabis from pharmacies in Holland. The struggle involved though is horrendous.  It means travelling to Holland, declaring the medicine to customs on return and legality depends on exactly how the prescription is phrased.  Get it wrong and both doctor and patient could face criminal charges.  It also depends on the mood and  knowledge of the Border Force officer on duty at customs.  If he or she has had a bad day, as one CLEAR member discovered, that’s £500 of medicine plus travelling expenses, that will never be seen again.

Lord Winston

Lord Winston

Just a few days ago, Lord Winston, the British public’s favourite doctor, also endorsed medicinal cannabis, saying:

The Sun, 16th June 2015

The Sun, 16th June 2015

“When I was chairman of the Science and Technology Select Committee some years ago, we looked intensively at the medicinal uses of cannabis. One of the pieces of evidence was very compelling and enabled us to think about rather permissive legislation. It was that a number of people who had medical conditions, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, took cannabis, which was not prescribed, to relieve their symptoms.” Source

This reform is long overdue.  UK policy on medicinal cannabis is deeply cruel, evidence-free and based on the views of the tabloid press rather than medical experts, although even that is changing with today’s story in The Sun ‘Cannabis: Is it a curse or cure? Three readers reveal how controversial herb has saved their lives’

CLEAR produced its own report earlier this year ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’, a comprehensive and up to date review of the peer-reviewed, published evidence.

Channel 4 Cannabis Programme. Irresponsible, Unethical, Misleading.

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Jon Snow Cannabis experiment sensationalismThe pre-publicity for next week’s programme ‘Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial’ has been nothing but a repeat of 1930s ‘Reefer Madness’. See ‘Jon Snow gets the inside dope on skunk’ for his commentary and a video.

It is tragic that respected journalists, Jon Snow and Matthew Paris, both of whom have been intelligent opponents of the disastrous drugs war, have been duped and manipulated into being used as sensationalist propaganda by an unscrupulous production company, Renegade Pictures.  After Channel 4’s prejudicial and hate-mongering programme, Benefits Street, one would have hoped that its editors would have learned lessons and resolved to take a more responsible approach.

David Abraham, CEO, Channel 4

David Abraham, CEO, Channel 4

I have been in correspondence with Renegade Pictures, with UCL, which is responsible for ethical approval of the study and with Jon Snow.  Today I have written to the Chief Executive of Channel 4.

David Abraham
Chief Executive
Channel 4
124, Horseferry Road
London
SW1P 2TX

Dear Mr Abraham,

Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial. Due for broadcast 3rd March 2015

There are compelling reasons why you should halt the broadcast of this programme in its present form. It is grossly irresponsible, deeply unethical and highly misleading.

I write as the elected leader of more than 320,000 supporters of cannabis law reform. CLEAR represents more people than all other UK drugs policy groups combined. I have made repeated attempts to engage with the producers of this programme, Renegade Pictures, but apart from one acknowledgement my correspondence has been ignored. This is an open letter which will be published on the CLEAR website.

A comprehensive complaint will be made to OFCOM if the programme is broadcast in its present form and I am already in touch with UCL on the question of ethics. At this stage I want to draw to your attention to conclusive evidence of the unethical basis of this programme.

The study being conducted by Professors Curran and Nutt is important science. However, it is not original and the outcome is a foregone conclusion. It is well established in other research and widely understood that CBD moderates the psychoactive effects of THC.

The cannabis used in the programme is not ‘skunk’ as claimed, it is a ‘haze’ variety produced by Bedrocan BV, the Netherlands government official producer of medicinal cannabis. It is prescribed as medicine by doctors in Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Canada.

I would refer you to the Netherlands Office for Medicinal Cannabis, which regulates Bedrocan products. It publishes guidelines for medical professionals which can be seen here: BEDROCAN GUIDELINES

On using a vapouriser these state:

“Inhale a few times until the desired effect is reached or until psychological side-effects occur. Wait 5-15 minutes after the first inhalation and wait between inhalations.”

If you now observe the ludicrous overdose that Jon Snow and Matthew Paris were subjected to, you will understand how gravely irresponsible is the conduct of the programme’s producers.

Aside from the impact on the individuals concerned, this programme will present a highly misleading and false impression of the use of cannabis which millions of British people participate in every day.

I urge you to take prompt action and stop the broadcast of this programme in its present form.

Kind regards,

yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

 

Medicinal Cannabis AdVan Campaign in London.

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Artist's Impression

Artist’s Impression

Join The Campaign For Medicinal Cannabis On A Doctor’s Prescription.

Despite overwhelming evidence, the UK government insists that cannabis has “no medicinal value”.  Present policy is deeply cruel and means that at least one million people in Britain are forced to become criminals in order to deal with their pain, suffering or disability.

We must change this dreadful and unjust policy. It’s time to help rather than persecute people who genuinely need cannabis to improve their health. DONATE HERE.

The AdVan Campaign.

CLEAR is the UK’s leading drugs policy reform group with more than 270,000 followers. We will run an AdVan for one week in central London during the busy pre-Christmas period.  This will deliver the simple, direct message that you see above and it will be backed by a supporting PR campaign, lobbying of government ministers and MPs as well as further information on the CLEAR website.

Please donate whatever you can.  Every pound makes a difference.  We need to raise £3500 to run the AdVan for one week.  If we raise more we will run it for longer. DONATE HERE.

Please Donate Now!

 

AdVan2 poster

Our Simple And Reasonable Request To UK Government.

In 1998, GW Pharmaceuticals was granted a licence to grow cannabis and its cannabis oil medicine, Sativex, is now approved but doctors are prevented from prescribing it because it is so fantastically expensive.

The Dutch government approves a cannabis medicine called Bedrocan which provides exactly the same as Sativex at a tiny fraction of the price. Sativex costs between £375 – £560 per month. Bedrocan costs £35 – £95 per month.

All we ask is that if a doctor prescribes Bedrocan, the Home Office should issue an import licence. This is a narrow, tightly defined reform that will not encourage illicit use but will provide enormous help to some very poorly people. DONATE HERE.

Further Background.

Every year, thousands of medicinal cannabis users are prosecuted for possessing or growing cannabis. Often it is the only medicine that helps them with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, MS, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, depression or many of the conditions related to aging. It is also used to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy and HIV/Aids treatments.

In November 2014, the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker resigned as a government minister because of the Conservatives’ refusal even to consider drugs policy reform. In July 2014 he met with members of CLEAR and publicly called for cannabis to be legalised for medicinal use. Other ministers are more concerned with stopping people getting high (which they are going to do anyway) than in helping those with severe medical conditions. DONATE HERE.

Other Ways You Can Help
Join CLEAR at http://clearmembers-uk.org
Visit and ‘like’ our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ClearUK
Follow us on Twitter @CLEARUK

DONATE HERE.

The Monstrous, Cruel and Ignorant Health Minister Of Jersey.

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Deputy Anne Pryke

Deputy Anne Pryke

“It would be irresponsible to allow the importation of cannabis into Jersey.  I could not support a proposition to issue a special licence to an individual for the possession of illegal cannabis in its raw form, where neither the quality nor composition of the product, its safety, dosage or levels of individual use could be effectively monitored and I would urge members to vote firmly against this proposition.”

Deputy Anne Pryke, September 2014

Jersey is in an enviable position regarding medicinal cannabis.  As a Crown dependency the island has constitutional rights of self-government and judicial independence. It is within the power of Deputy Pryke, the Minister of Health, to issue a licence for Bedrocan medicinal cannabis to be imported from Holland where it is grown legally for medicinal purposes under the regulation of the Dutch government.

A formal States petition has been delivered and Deputy Montford Tadier (the Jersey equivalent of an MP) has requested that an import licence be issued for his constituent, Evelyn Volante who suffers from ulcerative colitis.  See a video about her use of medicinal cannabis here. You see above the disgraceful, monstrous, cruel and ignorant words which Deputy Pryke has spoken in response.

Now these are strong words.  Too strong for the people at Politics Jersey, where my description of this politician’s conduct met with wide support but then I was kicked out by the admin team who described it as a “personal attack” and an “insult”.

I repeat my description of Deputy Pryke’s conduct as monstrous and cruel. If we cannot call out politicians for actions they take or words they speak in their official capacity then what sort of democracy do they have in Jersey?

To deny anyone access to a medicine that is proven by science to treat a serious medical condition is monstrous and cruel in any and all circumstances.  This is a self-evident truth which renders Deputy Pryke unfit to hold any office in government, particularly that of Minister of Health.

Deputy Pryke’s words are also astonishingly ignorant.  It is clear that she has been negligent in her duty properly to consider the evidence relating to cannabis and ulcerative colitis.

Cannabis works for all forms of inflammatory bowel disease because the bowel contains CB1 and CB2 receptors which when modulated by cannabis turn off inflammation. Thus it provides more than simply palliative relief.  It actually treats the cause of the conditions.  For all intents and purposes it is a cure.

Bedrocan cannabis, as approved and regulated by the Dutch government’s Bureau voor Medicinale Cannabis, is strictly quality controlled and its composition and safety are at least as well proven as any pharmaceutical product.  As for levels of individual use, this is the same as with any medicine and is controlled by the amount prescribed.

1. The best evidence of all is Ms Volante’s own experience.  She already uses cannabis, illegally, and it works better for her than the highly toxic and debilitating pharmaceutical medicines which are offered by her doctor.

2. There is a vast quantity of anecdotal evidence and personal experience from thousands of people around the world using cannabis effectively to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease.  Deputy Pryke could spend 15 minutes on Google.

3.  Many peer reviewed studies show positive benefits and few adverse side effects from treating ulcerative colitis with cannabis.  The following are just a small selection

Esposito G et al. Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel disease: a brief overview. Phytotherapy Research 2012 July; doi:10.1002/ptr.4781
Lahat A et al. Impact of cannabis treatment on the quality of life, weight and clinical disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a pilot prospective study. Digestion 2012; 85(1): 1-8
Lal S et al. Cannabis use amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2011 Oct; 23(10): 891-96
Naftali T et al. Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study. Israel Medical Association Journal 2011 Aug; 1(8): 455-58

4. GW Pharmaceuticals is presently conducting phase II clinical trials into cannabis for ulcerative colitis.

5. The Meir Medical Center in Israel is also conducting clinical trials and claims 90% of patients achieve significant clinical benefit with no side effects.

 

UK’s ‘Cruel and Corrupt’ Medicinal Cannabis Policy Exposed By CNN’s Dr Sanjay Gupta.

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This clip is from ‘Sanjay Gupta MD’, CNN’s regular medical affairs programme.  It was broadcast on Saturday, 16th November 2013.

An hour-long documentary is to follow, probably in March 2014, when Dr Gupta will expose the terrible cruelty, hypocrisy, dishonesty and corruption which is UK policy on medicinal cannabis. The programme will investigate GW Pharmaceuticals and its cannabis medicines Sativex and Epidiolex.  It will also feature Bedrocan and its grow facility in Holland and look in detail at the process CLEAR has developed which has so far enabled five members successfully to import medicinal cannabis to the UK.

CNN Camera Crew, Jamie Watling (aka 'Clarence Clear'), Peter Reynolds and Dr Sanjay Gupta

CNN Camera Crew, Jamie Watling (aka ‘Clarence Clear’), Peter Reynolds and Dr Sanjay Gupta

Although the UK government claims that cannabis has“no medicinal value”, it has licensed GW Pharmaceuticals to grow massive quantities of the plant which it then processes into its hugely expensive medicines.  The license, which was issued for research purposes only, was operated unlawfully between 2003, when Sativex became a commercial product, until March 2013 when the Home Secretary retrospectively legalised it.

Most CCGs refuse to provide Sativex because it is so expensive.  A month’s prescription of Sativex costs the NHS £560.00.  The equivalent from Bedrocan costs between £35.00 and £105.00 depending on which product is prescribed.

Successive governments have failed to act in the interests of British citizens.  Ministers have refused even to consider a change in policy and have ignored or rejected all the efforts of CLEAR and other groups to present evidence and make a case on behalf of those who need cannabis as medicine.

Even though medicinal cannabis was the subject most often mentioned in the written evidence to the recent Home Affairs select committee drugs inquiry, it was ignored.  No evidence was heard on the subject and no questions were asked.

Peter Reynolds, president and elected leader of CLEAR, commented:

“UK policy on medicinal cannabis is cruel and corrupt.  While ministers refuse even to consider reform despite overwhelming scientific evidence, hundreds of thousands of British people persist in pain, suffering and disability which could be relieved by cannabis.  The police are used as armed enforcers of GW Pharmaceuticals’ unlawful monopoly, arresting and even imprisoning sick people who are merely trying to improve their health.  I want to thank Dr Gupta for his work.  While he has travelled thousands of miles to tell this story, UK government ministers hide in their offices with their fingers in their ears.”

Medicinal Cannabis Users – Parliamentary Delegation

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parliamentCLEAR has arranged for a delegation of 12 medicinal cannabis users to visit parliament to meet with senior figures in the field of health and home affairs.

In order to protect patient confidentiality and against the sort of sabotage which is so often seen in the cannabis campaign, we are not releasing details of who we are meeting or when.  Suffice to say that this breakthrough has been achieved by many months of behind the scenes work, meetings with MPs, doctors and the courageous efforts of several CLEAR members.

The focus is to permit medicinal users access to the products of Bedrocan, the Dutch government’s official producer of medicinal cannabis.  We now have written confirmation from both the Department of Health and the Home Office that doctors are fully entitled to write prescriptions for Bedrocan products, just as they are for any other unlicensed medicine.

The next stage is to obtain an import licence from the Home Office, either a personal import licence for each individual or a licence for a pharmacist to import and dispense.  The recent re-scheduling of Sativex makes our case for obtaining these licences much stronger.

We are not there yet but we are now closer than we have ever been to enabling legal access to medicinal cannabis.  The delegation will be meeting face to face with people who can make this happen.

 We now have to select the members of the delegation.  This is an important task.  We need a broad range of conditions for which there is good evidence that cannabis helps.  We also need the right people who can put their case across in a polite and convincing manner.

We also have a BBC documentary producer with whom we have been working for a few months concerning a programme to be broadcast in the autumn.  This visit to parliament could form an important part of the programme.

If you are interested in being considered as a member of the delegation, please email me with a concise description of yourself, your condition and your history of medicinal cannabis use: peterreynolds@clear-uk.org

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm