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UK’s first medical cannabis fund celebrates charity status

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Dr Simon Erridge says the news will allow more patients access to medical cannabis

Sapphire Medical Foundation is celebrating its newly-confirmed status as the UK’s first ever medical cannabis charity.

Sapphire Medical Foundation has been awarded charity status following a landmark decision by the Charity Commission. 

The first of its kind in the UK, Sapphire Medical Foundation was set up in 2019, to reduce the financial barriers to accessing medical cannabis – a potentially life-changing treatment for millions of patients.  

The majority of UK medical cannabis patients receive prescriptions through the private sector and with limited access available on the NHS, many are unable to afford  the prohibitive costs associated with a prescription. 

Earlier this year, 38-year-old Kirran Gill became the first patient to be supported by the foundation following their inaugural grant application round. 

Kirran, who lives with chronic pain from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis has previously shared how the access to this treatment, made possible by the Sapphire Foundation, has given her ‘beacon of hope’ during dark times. 

Following the news and a successful fundraising drive throughout the year, the next grant application process is expected to open imminently. 

Dr Simon Erridge, co-founder and trustee of Sapphire Medical Foundation was delighted to hear the news.

“We have worked closely with the Charity Commission to ensure that  Sapphire Medical Foundation has a robust governance process,” he commented.

“This approval will open up fundraising opportunities and allow us to support many more patients.” 

Chair of trustees Baroness Molly Meacher highlighted the need for such a charity in  the current climate, she said: “The Sapphire Medical Foundation aims to enable patients with limited funds to gain access to cannabis medicines when they need them. 

“At present only about 10 prescriptions for cannabis medicines have been written within the NHS. As a result, patients need funds – hundreds of pounds per month or more in some cases, to  access these legally recognised medicines. This is morally wrong.”  

While fellow trustee and England rugby player, George Kruis added: “We have shown the Charity Commission that Sapphire Medical Foundation inspires trust and can improve  lives. We want to help more patients who are suffering with chronic conditions to access  treatment with medical cannabis – it can be life-changing.”  

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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