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Case study: How cannabis helped this mum battle MS

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Deb has been using medical cannabis to help manage symptoms of MS

Cannabis Health speaks to Chris, a chef from Lincolnshire, whose partner has been using CBD and full-spectrum oils for treating multiple sclerosis (MS) over the past three years.

Deb, 55, was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS 10 years ago. A keen runner before her diagnosis, she took a bad fall on one of her 10-mile runs which she used to do several times a week.

The mum-of-two went to her GP, explained her symptoms and was referred to a specialist who later diagnosed her with MS.

Her condition resulted in scarring on her spinal cord and lesions on the brain which causes vision and balance issues, memory loss, trouble walking and bladder problems.

“She was fit and active with no symptoms apart from losing balance,” Chris says.

“She worked in a very good job at the Post Office in the finance department, she had two kids at school, she was married. Basically, that all fell apart.”

Chris and Deb got together two years after her diagnosis and four years later, as Chris noticed Debs’ condition getting “progressively worse”, the couple began researching cannabis-based medicines.

In addition to using two CBD oils from the UK company, Canaxen, Chris also grows several plants of his own to produce a full-spectrum oil containing THC.

Since she began consuming cannabis-based medicine, Deb’s condition has stopped progressing and although her symptoms have in no way been cured, they have stopped getting worse and she has seen noticeable improvements to the amount of pain she experiences and her quality of sleep.

Having previously taken painkillers twice every day, Deb no longer relies on these pills and only takes them in extreme cases.

Following a scan two years ago, Deb’s doctor told the couple that the MS had ‘burnt itself out’.

“It doesn’t take away the symptoms she already has,” Chris says.

“They will not go away, but hopefully they won’t get any worse.

“We’ve done some research into whether MS really can burn itself out and it seems to be that it can do, and I definitely think it’s because of the oil.

“[Life] is better for her. It hasn’t changed her quality of life too much; she still can’t walk much distance for example. It’s not a miracle cure, it’s not like Jesus puts a hand on her head or anything like that. But she hasn’t got worse, she sleeps better, and she doesn’t have as much pain.”

The improvements to Deb’s life and condition means  she and Chris are able to make the most out of their lives together. The couple, who are planning to get married on the Isle of Skye in April of this year, set up a new venture together during lockdown renovating furniture and frequently take trips in their campervan since Chris sold his catering business last year.

Chris says he first started growing his own plants by picking out hemp seeds from budgie feed.

Although he is aware of the potential legal repercussions of growing his own plants, Chris believes it is more important that Deb receives the medication she needs.

“The oil I make has THC in it because you need the full spectrum. You need the active ingredient because they work together symbiotically,” he says.

“I don’t use what I grow, of course; it’s purely for medicine. If I got busted for growing three or four plants, then it’s a very, very sad state of affairs.

“Real people are having a go at self-medicating and we’re making life better for ourselves. Deb’s health is the most important thing, so we’re being proactive instead of giving up and pushing her around in a wheelchair.”

As for many medical cannabis patients, private medical prescriptions are out of reach of Chris and Deb’s budget

“You can get a private prescription, which I think can be up to £1,500 a month, but who realistically can afford that?

“You hear stories of families of kids with severe epilepsy who go to get oil brought in from Holland and suddenly they become criminals for trying to help their kids, which is disgusting.”

He adds: “It needs to be decriminalised and the government needs to take control so you can go into a shop, pay tax and get something safe without putting money into the hands of criminals.”

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Weekend digest: Six big stories from the cannabis world you might have missed

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Another week, another rollercoaster in the fast-moving world of cannabis.

At Cannabis Health, our in depth coverage of the ongoing growth of cannabis as a medical and wellness product continues

Meanwhile, over at Cannabis Wealth, we’ve been following all the big industry and policy news in a week which has seen some important developments..

Been busy and want to get caught up in a hurry?

Here are the six things you need to read to stay in the loop this week.

1. Products pulled from shelves

Two batches of medical cannabis products have been recalled by regulators as investigations are carried out, following reports they may be contaminated with mould.

Medical cannabis pharmacy, Dispensary Green and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have issued a ‘precautionary’ product recall since being made aware of ‘defects’ in patient’s medication.

Concerns were initially raised after a number of medical cannabis patients spotted what they believed to be mould spores in their prescriptions.

Full story here.

2. NFL turns to medical cannabis

The National Football League (NFL) in America is providing $1 million in funding for research into pain management and cannabinoids.

The NFL is funding research into medical cannabis.

The pain management committee of the NFL and the NFL Players Association announced it would stump up the funding on Tuesday 8 June.

According to the organisation’s news platform, the move is the next step in a shifting attitude towards players who use medicinal cannabis to manage pain from injuries.

You can read more here.

3. More medical cannabis evidence

Researchers have found that the cannabinoids CBD and CBG, when used in combination, are beneficial for treating inflammation in the lungs.

Scientists at King’s College London, working in collaboration with Sativa Wellness Group have published the first results from a study into the impact of cannabinoids on respiratory diseases.

It aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of the two non-psychotropic cannabinoids alone and in combination, in a model of pulmonary inflammation.

Full details here.

4. Germany to vote for reform?

Germany’s national election on September 26 could be a landmark moment for Europe’s cannabis industry.

As Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to leave the stage, the European Union’s most influential country looks destined for a political shakeup.

Annalena Baerbock could become Germany’s first pro-drug reform Chancellor.

It could mark a huge moment for the cannabis industry as Germany’s parliament might swing in favour of legislation.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

5. Adapt or fail

The pro-drug reform lobby must accept it has failed and change to push its agenda ahead, leading experts have warned.

Speaking at a Global Cannabis Intelligence event about the state of advocacy in the UK, three leading policy advocates set out how they think greater access can be achieved.

The discussion comes week after the 50-year anniversary of the passage of the The Misuse of Drugs Act.

Read the full story here.

6. Isle of Man steps up

The Isle of Man government has declared it is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

In a big to create 250 new jobs and generate £3m a year for the island, policymakers want it to become ‘a world-leading exporter’.

Applications are now open for licences to produce and distribute treatments on the island, as well as to use it as an export base.

Full details here.

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New tracking app launches for UK medical cannabis patients

Through the app patients will be able to monitor their own symptoms and medication usage

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The free health monitoring app is already being used elsewhere in the world.

UK medical cannabis suppliers Grow Pharma have teamed up with an Australian tech firm to launch a new app for patients.

The partnership with OnTracka will see them launch Calyx, a free health monitoring app already being used elsewhere in the world.

Users will be able to monitor their own symptoms and medication usage, speak securely with their doctor and contribute to gathering evidence about the use of medical cannabis.

The app will also be available in Ireland and the Channel Islands after successful launches in Australia, the US and South America.

Users will be able to monitor their own symptoms and medication usage

Pierre Van Weperen, CEO of Grow Pharma said: “Grow Pharma is currently fulfilling around a third of all prescriptions for the UK’s medicinal cannabis patients.

“Our prominent role gives us a significant advantage to building data insights into how patients are managing their health.

“This is integral to pave the way towards increasing access for patients in the UK through providing doctors with confidence around the safety and efficacy of these products.

“Using the app will generate important insights to provide real-time evidence to doctors and regulators.”

Grow Pharma hopes the app will help ‘rapidly accelerate an understanding of the safety, quality, and efficacy’ of medical cannabis.

Insights gained via the app will ‘advance the industry forward in the service of patients, shaping future legislation and policy based on patient experiences’ by providing real-world data to regulators.

Grow is in the process of raising £6 million worth of capital via a private funding round expect to be completed later this month.

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Isle of Man launches medical cannabis export sector

The Isle of Man is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

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The move could 250 new jobs and generate £3 million a year for the island

The Isle of Man government has declared it is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

In a big to create 250 new jobs and generate £3 million a year for the island, policymakers want it to become ‘a world-leading exporter’.

Applications are now open for licences to produce and distribute treatments on the island, as well as to use it as an export base.

The island’s regulator – the Gambling Supervision Commission – has set out conditions for the licensing of high-THC cannabis and hemp.

Enterprise minister Laurence Skelly said: “The growing global medicinal cannabis market provides significant opportunity for economic development in the Isle of Man, and the new regulatory framework and guidance will offer stringent and flexible licensing of a broad range of cannabis products, which ranges from outdoor grown industrial hemp to indoor grown medicinal products.

“The Isle of Man Government has every confidence that the GSC will provide a world class regulatory structure required to regulate this new and complex industry.

The Isle of Man wants to be a major player in Europe’s growing medical cannabis industry.

“I am delighted to welcome licence applications and look forward to attracting quality businesses to the Island, transforming the cannabis export sector into a key contributor to the Isle of Man’s post-Covid economic recovery.”

The self-governing British Crown Dependency, which has a population of 83,000, approved new medical cannabis laws in January.

The island’s parliament – the Tynwald – moved to attract the industry to its shores after a public consultation showed 95 percent of residents were in favour of the policy.

Mark Rutherford, director of policy at the island’s regulator, said: “The GSC already has a sophisticated framework for supervising gambling.

‘We have worked carefully to apply the best of that framework to the risks in the new sector and we have educated ourselves in the technical areas that are new to us.

“What we now have will ensure that all stakeholders will be competent, crime free and capable of building a sector that is safe, trusted and efficient.

“As regulators, we aspire to put our regulatory umbrella above as many consumers as possible so that they can benefit from regulations that are well thought out and properly supervised.

“Years of prohibition mean that the markets in which our licensees will be participating are still in their infancy and still contain many uncertainties.

“To address this situation, it is our aim to ensure that consumers who purchase Isle of Man products will be able to understand exactly what their product contains through accurate labelling and independent testing.

“The GSC recognises there are many stakeholders in this newly created field and intends to extend its ethos of cooperation with other government authorities into its approach to cannabis regulation.”

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