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“People need hope and I had none”: Medical cannabis patients on how it changed their lives

Two medical cannabis patients have given harrowing testimony of their lives before discovering the treatment.



medical cannabis
Matthew Taylor says cannabis helped him come off strong opioid medication

Two medical cannabis patients have given harrowing testimony of their lives before discovering the treatment.

Speaking at Global Cannabis Intelligence’s virtual conference, the Trans-Atlantic conversation also shone a light on policy gaps on both sides of the pond.

Matthew Taylor, who is a patient advocate with Patient-Led Engagement for Access (PLEA), described how medical cannabis helped ween him off the opiates which had come to take over his life.

Taylor was prescribed with strong opiates for severe spinal pain which caused debilitating side effects and said medical cannabis ‘changed my life’.

He told the conference: “I was very sedated, drooling a lot of the time, slurring my words – a lot of people on the phone thought I was drunk, including once when I was calling my kid’s school which caused some unwanted attention there.

“I wasn’t able to think properly, my memory suffered, I pulled out of an Open University degree, it impacted me a lot.

“I couldn’t talk to my kids properly or help with homework and the pain wasn’t being satiated adequately enough to be able to function.

Matthew Taylor is a patient on Project Twenty21

“That was where medical cannabis helped. It helped me come off those other medications with no withdrawal symptoms from the opioids and I can only assume that was due to the cannabis.”

Medical cannabis had a similarly transformative effect on Nikki Lawley, a former pediatric nurse who suffered severe mental health problems after a traumatic brain injury.

She said she ‘discovered cannabis by accident’ and was sceptical at first but now credits it with ‘giving me my life back’.

Lawley told the event from her home in New York state: “I look fine from the outside, I can engage but what you don’t see is how hard it was to get to the point I’m at now.

“I feel like I make more of a difference now after after my injury and discovering medical cannabis than I did as a pediatric nurse.

“People need hope and I had none, I was literally planning to die – it shouldn’t have to take people to get to that dark place until they find relief.”

Both patients revealed the hoops they have had to jump through in order to secure the medication that works for them.

Taylor, who is part of Project Twenty21, said: “It’s a last option [in the UK]. GPs are the first doctors patients go to and generally know nothing about medical cannabis and won’t go near it.

“My own doctor was extremely reluctant at first, it was the same at a pain clinic.

“Eventually, through a local MP I managed to contact another patient and they put me on the right track to contacting the right clinic.

“It shouldn’t be the last option, you need to have two failed treatments before it’s even considered – it should be the primary option.”

Lawley, who decided to try medical cannabis as a last resort when she saw an advertisement on a mobile billboard in Las Vegas, accesses whole flower treatments by crossing the nearby Canadian border.

She said: “In New York state, alternative methods of seeking access are all I’ve had.

“We don’t have the products I actually need and because of lockdown… I have not been able to access my medicine properly because the border is closed.”

She added: “I’ve been a pretty law abiding human for most of my life so it freaks me out that just crossing a state line with my medicine can get me in trouble.”


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



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



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.



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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