Through the partnership with Alliance Healthcare, pharmacists across the UK can now stock the Goodbody Botanicals range of CBD products, including four peppermint-flavoured CBD oil drops – ranging from low to maximum strength – CBD soft gels and a CBD balm.
All Goodbody Botanicals’ products are tested by Phytovista Laboratories for quality, and are compliant to industry standards and regulations.
In addition, Goodbody Botanicals has also entered into a contract to employ Skills in Healthcare – a syndicated pharmacy salesforce – who visit 1,500 top performing, independent pharmacy customers and will actively promote the Goodbody Botanicals range over the next four months.
Goodbody Botanicals is part of the Sativa Group plc, the UK’s leading quoted CBD wellness and medicinal cannabis group with four revenue generating operating subsidiaries. It also has a research division that holds Home Office licences, and is developing medicines for the veterinary and human markets.
George Thomas, managing director of Goodbody Botanicals, said: “The listing with Alliance Healthcare in the UK is great news for our brand and supports our aim to be sold in 1,000 pharmacies in the UK over the next 12 months.”
“Why are we reduced to this?”
Rab Lewin is a photographer who has worked for some of the world’s biggest musicians, but for most of his life he has relied on cannabis to keep his epilepsy under control.
Rab Lewin, 53, wasn’t diagnosed with epilepsy until 2013, but says he can recall symptoms as early as the age of four that were never detected.
“I used to get report cards from school saying I started into space a lot, and in high school I started showing signs of narcolepsy,” says Rab, who now lives with family in the highlands of Scotland.
Despite his symptoms he went on to lead an enviable life. He left home at 17 and by 21 was travelling America, working as a stagehand for the likes of Metallica, Pink Floyd, Prince and Neil Young.
It wasn’t until 1997 that he had his first grand mal seizure while living in New Zealand, where he was running a successful vintage business.
“I didn’t understand what was happening,” he says.
“I thought I was having a mental breakdown.”
The seizures would become a reoccurring factor in Rab’s life, sometimes there would be years between them, but each one seemed to be triggered by a stressful situation and over time they became progressively worse, resulting in him being hospitalised.
He was living in Australia in 2013 when he suffered two severe seizures within a short space of time.
Rab’s mum stepped in and encouraged him to move back to the UK, where he was diagnosed with epilepsy a few months later.
The neurologist immediately prescribed antiepileptic drugs, one of which was tegretol, a medication often used to treat schizophrenia.
“It’s brutal, it made me suicidal, I was perpetrating violence, but most importantly it gave me creative block and for me, that’s intolerable,” says Rab.
After he came off the drugs he went to live with friends in Germany, one of whom was using cannabis to manage pain caused by her fibromyalgia.
“I had started smoking cannabis when I was 15 and became a bit of a ‘pothead’,” admits Rab.
“Smoking cannabis was what me and my friend had always done, but during the time I was living with them I had no narcolepsy, the only symptom I had was a little bit of apnea.”
He adds: “I only had one bad seizure, which occurred after a family member died prematurely.”
However, with no health insurance and the coronavirus pandemic taking hold Rab was forced to move back to Scotland earlier this year.
In the remote Highlands of Ardnamurchan where he lives, cannabis is hard to access on the black market and he is starting to see his health decline again.
“Trying to obtain cannabis is a nightmare,” he says.
“I have just had a six-week period with none and I’m starting to feel worse and worse.
“I’m having night epilepsy again, I’m shuddering through the day and it finally culminated three days ago and I had a full blown grand mal.”
He is now attempting to fundraise enough money to obtain a legal medical cannabis prescription from a private neurologist in London.
“The NHS and Government denying patients cannabis means I’m left trying to privately fund life-saving treatment on Universal Credit,” he says.
Rab says he doesn’t know what his future looks like without having access to medical cannabis guaranteed.
“I’ve had a lifetime of these symptoms and they are getting worse,” he adds.
“Why are we reduced to this?”
Donate to Rab’s Go Fund Me page here
Protests over eviction of market trader after medical cannabis arrest
Campaigners are protesting the eviction of a London market trader after police found what is thought to be medical cannabis on site.
Hughie Crawford, who runs Artz Designwear in Tooting Market in London, is facing eviction from the market following a police raid on Saturday 5 September.
During a search of the stall, officers found a quantity of cannabis, which Hughie claims he was using for medicinal purposes.
The 60-year-old, who is suffering from incurable prostate cancer, says he has been using cannabis for several years to treat chronic back pain and now believes it is helping to manage his symptoms.
He was arrested on suspicion of possession of intent to supply class B drugs and has since been released under investigation.
Hughie was later served an eviction notice by the market’s management and asked to leave by Friday 25 September.
A petition has since gathered over 500 signatures and protesters outside Tooting Market on Friday 18 September called for the decision to be revoked due to Hughie’s ‘mitigating circumstances’.
Speaking to Cannabis Health, Hughie said: “I’ve got no chance of doing anything else at the moment. I have just redecorated the unit and my business had actually picked up quite a bit after covid.
“We only reopened in June, having to leave is going to kill me.”
Hughie, who was diagnosed last year, has been told by doctors at Guy’s Hospital that there is no cure for his cancer and surgery is no longer an option.
But he believes that cannabis has helped to prevent it from progressing further.
“I know it’s helping because my PSA levels [the blood test used to screen for prostate cancer in men] used to be very high,” he said.
“It is still high but not as high as should be under the circumstances, and I’m not having any other treatment.”
He believes the law is too harsh on patients who rely on medical cannabis, but can’t afford to fund a private prescription.
“I don’t see myself as a drug user, it’s a medicine for me,” said Hughie, who having given up smoking now blends the plant into smoothies or sprinkles it on his food.
“We get pumped full of drugs every day, people get hooked on prescription drugs that are actually given to you by your doctor.
“Alcohol is one of the worst drugs because it does more damage than anything else.”
He added: “It’s a shame that the Government can’t see a way past this. Other countries have been using cannabis to treat lots of ailments for years.”
In a statement, Wandsworth Police said: “On Saturday 5 September officers from the South West Command Unit executed search warrants under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act on two stalls at Tooting Market, SW17.
“This followed information received that drugs were being sold at the venues. A warrant was applied for and granted at a magistrates’ court.
“A quantity of cannabis was found at one of the stalls and a man was arrested on suspicion of possession of intent to supply class B drugs; he has since been released under investigation.
“At a subsequent search of a residential property, a quantity of cash was found – this has been seized as part of the investigation.
“In relation to the second stall, no drugs were found and no further action will be taken by police. The stallholder was not arrested.”
Superintendent Roger Arditti from the South West Command Unit added: “Successful neighbourhood policing relies on trust between our officers and the community they serve; this is something we continually strive to maintain.
“In this instance we received concerns that drugs were being sold at a stall in the market. We acted upon this information and our investigation remains ongoing. I would urge anyone who has information about drug dealing, or any other criminality, to contact police so these concerns can be acted upon.”
A spokesperson for Tooting Market commented: “At present, Hughie of Artz Designwear has been asked to leave the market. This is the result of police action. Campaigners for Hughie may not be in possession of all the facts.
“As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further.”
This is how Australia is consuming medical cannabis
A new report shows record numbers of doctors are prescribing medical cannabis as the Australian market is expected to triple by the end of 2020.
There will be around 30,000 active cannabis patients in Australia by the end of the year – according to the latest in-depth report on the country’s medical cannabis sector.
This is a significant jump from just over 10,000 in December 2019.
The market has also seen the greatest drop in product prices since the 2016 legalisation of medicinal cannabis, as the industry continues to grow in size year on year – equating to almost $95million in sales by the end of 2020.
Australia’s most comprehensive medicinal cannabis analysis of patients, products and pricing was published by FreshLeaf Analytics on Thursday 17 September.
Those behind the report believe that the coming year could be a turning point for the industry, with record numbers of products available, rapid price declines and new regulations coming into force to improve patient access.
“The number of new products entering the market, and the degree of price drop is probably beyond levels we would have forecast 12 months ago,” Cassandra Hunt, managing director of FreshLeaf told Cannabis Health.
“The report does not specifically track attitudes, however record numbers of doctors are prescribing, suggesting that acceptance of cannabis as a therapy is gradually increasing.”
The number of products available has also doubled to 150 in the last year and is expected to exceed 300 by the end of 2021. Oil and flower product formats are still the most common representing around 80 percent of the products in the market.
This increase in competition has forced down prices. According to the report, patients buying legal cannabis products are now spending the same as those accessing it on the black market, putting Australia in line with more mature markets such as Canada.
Dr Mark Hardy, an addiction specialist and CA Clinics medical director said he hoped this would encourage patients to use legal routes, he commented: “It’s encouraging to see the recent product price decline, bringing illegal and legal markets to parity. This will hopefully enable more patients to gain access to legal medicine pathways, with confidence in the contents and dose”.
However, medical cannabis prescriptions are not covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and so remain costly compared to conventional medicines.
Cassandra added: “Prices are now on par with the illegal market, but despite this, because medicinal cannabis products are not subsidized by the Government prices do appear expensive in comparison with subsidised medicine.”
But FreshLeaf believes this could be about to change, in what could be a ‘significant milestone’ for the industry.
In August, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) – the body that decides whether certain medicines can be subsidised by the taxpayer – deferred a decision to subsidise Epidyolex, a medicinal cannabis product used to treat children suffering from rare forms of epilepsy.
Regardless of the decision, FreshLeaf expects Epidyolex to be included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) soon, meaning that doctors will be able to prescribe it freely.
Previous reports have shown that average dose increases over time, and this trend has continued with the average dose increasing to 92 milligrams per day – and more than three quarters of patients dosing at less than 100 milligrams per day.
“Lower prices have led to a wider uptake and higher doses and we expect that trend to continue,” said Cassandra.
“There are now 150 products in the market fighting for a share, but scale is a second factor. “Some of the products being supplied now in Australia are derived from raw materials that are increasingly being cultivated and produced on a large scale bringing down cost per unit.”
Of the products now available, 20 percent are low-dose CBD, a category that is likely to move to over-the-counter under new regulations in 2021.
Experts believe the year will be significant in defining what a ‘healthy’ medical cannabis industry looks like, with the prescription market expected to reach more than $150million.
Cassandra added: “The last 12 months has seen huge change in the industry. Record numbers of new products, rapid price declines and new regulations that will improve access and reduce patient prices.
“In the next 12 months we expect the market to continue to grow. We also expect significant consolidation as the number of players and product companies in the sector is excessive for the size of the market.
“Some Australian players will start to report meaningful revenues from overseas sales, mostly to Europe.”
Interestingly, the report found that sales had not been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic however, FreshLeaf has speculated that a need for new taxable revenues could lead to a discussion about the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.
With New Zealand going to the polls on 17 October, many in the industry are watching closely and believe a positive could encourage Australia to follow in their footsteps.
- “Why are we reduced to this?”
- Protests over eviction of market trader after medical cannabis arrest
- This is how Australia is consuming medical cannabis
- “It got me back on my feet”: The story behind Cumbria’s first CBD company
- Mum of three-year-old with ‘one in a million’ condition fights for medical cannabis funding
- Desperate mums make public plea to save their children
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