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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