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Israeli medical cannabis patient detained in Belarus

Despite activist calls for legalisation, Belarus has some of the harshest drug penalties in Europe

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An Israeli medical cannabis patient has been detained in Belarus and could face up to five years in prison, despite carrying a license for the medication.

Israeli lawyer, Maya Rayten-Stol was detained in Minsk for three weeks after she entered the country with 2.5 grams of medical cannabis in her luggage. Rayten-Stol carries a license for the medication which she uses to treat various health issues.

When arrested, Rayten-Stol attempted to show the paperwork to authorities who, her family say, ignored her requests. She has been held in the Pishchalauski Castle prison for three weeks since her arrival into the country. Her family also say she has been granted one phone call during this time.

Pishchalauski Castle is the detention centre in Minsk, where political activists are usually taken. Under Belarussian law, she could face three to five years in prison if there is no intervention.

Israeli foreign minister

The Foreign Ministry has been in contact with her family and the Israeli ambassador to Belarus, Alon Shoham has been to visit Rayten-Stol.

In a televised interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news,  her mother pleaded with authorities to release her daughter:

“My daughter, my only, my beloved, was arrested in Belarus for something that, according to Israeli law, is fine, but not with them. I do not know how long it will take. She is a girl, she is a great mother, a single mother, a mother who provides lots and lots of strength to her family and they need her. I do not understand why she is not being released,” said Monica Krozensky.

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She added: “I beg the prime minister, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, anyone who can help, to help. Let them bring her home to us. She should not be there. She has children who need her. We cannot wait like this. I beg of you, I beg you to bring her home.”

Belarussian laws such as article 328, surrounding cannabis are strict. The distinction between possession and intent to distribute has narrowed in recent years meaning that even small amounts could incur prison sentences of three to five years if it is determined to be over the limit. There are activist groups such as Legalize Belarus working to promote the benefits of psychedelics for health and also pushing for Belarus to decriminalise.

*As reported by Times of Israel

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Europe’s largest patient registry expands to offer more affordable access

The Sapphire Access Scheme has expanded to reach an additional 2,000 patients across the UK.

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Sapphire Medical Clinic: A doctor writing a medical prescription

Published patient data within The UK Medical Cannabis Registry suggests positive changes were observed in pain, anxiety and sleep-specific health-related outcomes.

The Sapphire Access Scheme allows patients to be included for free in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry (“The Registry”) and receive £50 appointments. The Registry is the first such database in the UK and was set up by Sapphire Medical Clinics (“Sapphire Clinics”), the UK’s first and highest-rated medical cannabis clinic.

It includes over 3,000 patients as part of the Sapphire Access Scheme and an analysis of the clinical outcomes measured in patients in the UK with chronic pain has been published in the international peer-reviewed journal ‘Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology’.

The results from this study of 190 patients suggest that treatment with cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) has an acceptable safety profile and is associated with improved pain-specific outcomes and health-related quality of life at 1, 3 and 6 months following treatment initiation. Adverse events (side effects) were reported by 18.7 per cent of patients suggesting a favourable tolerance relative to medications, such as opioids, that are prescribed more frequently.

Sapphire Access Scheme

To mark the success of the Real-World Evidence published internationally, the Sapphire Access Scheme has expanded to an additional 2,000 patients across the UK. Eligible patients will benefit from significant cost savings, including initial appointments priced at £50, in recognition of their contribution to the groundbreaking initiative that is successful in rapidly expanding the evidence base for medical cannabis.

The Registry is the largest European database of its kind and captures patient outcomes as well as safety profiles of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis can be prescribed by specialist doctors when conventional therapy has not provided adequate symptom relief for conditions such as pain, anxiety, and insomnia. All patients enrolled in the Registry have access to individualised health metrics and can freely monitor treatment progress over time.

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Dr Simon Erridge, head of research and access at Sapphire Clinics commented “As a multi-award-winning medical cannabis clinic, we are delighted to further improve access to this treatment option where other therapies haven’t worked. By collecting patient-reported outcomes and producing peer-reviewed analysis in return, together we inform the wider evidence base of the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis, which is essential for ensuring the correct patients are able to access treatment.”

Sapphire Medical Clinics patient Jack Pierce, added: “I am eligible for treatment as I previously had tried standard therapies for a range of multiple mental health conditions, consisting of Anxiety, Depression, ASD (Autism) and ADHD. The Sapphire Access Scheme has allowed me to see a specialist consultant and be prescribed medicines based on my individual needs. I have access to all health metrics such as sleep scores, daily activities and quality of life for free so that I benefit from this scheme as well as contribute to the evidence base which is accelerating in the UK, three years since the change in the law.”

Who is eligible for £50 appointments?

All patients eligible for treatment with medical cannabis can enrol on the Sapphire Access Scheme and access the £50 appointments. Medical cannabis can be considered when first-line treatments have not achieved adequate benefit or produced side effects. Find out more and complete the eligibility assessment online: https://www.sapphireclinics.com/eligibility-assessment/

Sapphire Access Scheme Pricing

£50 – Initial Appointment
£50 – Monthly one follow-up appointment
£50 – Quarterly check-up appointment
£50 – Transfer patient appointment
£0 – No repeat prescription fees

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Find out more about the Sapphire Access Scheme and pricing: https://www.sapphireclinics.com/pricing/ 

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CBDSQ share how they put people first and profits last

Join CBDSQ in their green revolution and together help to change the world

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CBDSQ explain how their CBD helps to give back by planting trees to fight climate change and they donate to families in need

We at CBDSQ harvest from organically grown, sun fed hemp plants grown in Spain and it is extracted in the UK to the highest possible standards.

We believe that our CBD products are amongst the best in the UK.

When it comes to quality we do not compromise. We believe in putting people first and profits last because helping people is our mission.

CBDSQ tree promise

With every purchase with us, we promise to plant trees all around the world to help protect this planet for many generations to come. We also participate in charity work within our local area to further our impact on society and indeed, the world.

Founded in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, we set out with a clear objective, to destigmatise cannabis and indeed CBD.

Having used CBD for many years we knew first-hand just how powerful the hemp plant can be. From its anti-inflammatory properties to its calming effect. CBD really can be beneficial for anybody so we set out to make it happen.

We only use natural ingredients in our products, No unwanted or unnecessary chemicals or ingredients are added, Just straightforward honest ingredients and products.

CBDSQ CBD

At heart, our business is all about helping people become the best they can be but we don’t just draw the line at people. We have also taken steps to protect our planet from further damage from climate change, So we have teamed up with ECOLOGI.

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For every order you place with us we promise to plant trees all around the world in a bid to offset the damage done by climate change.

Not only this but over the Christmas period, a percentage of our profits will go to help children in need this year. We will provide families less fortunate than ours. This means clothing, presents, food and of course our CBD magic will be spread too.

Join us in our green revolution and together we can change the world!

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Medical cannabis campaigners share anger at reading of new bill in parliament

“This is simply unforgivable. What a smack in the face this is for our families and at Christmas too. So once again, we get warm words, but no solution.”

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Parliament buildings in the UK

Campaigners have reacted in anger, despair and frustration to the second reading of a bill in parliament designed to increase access to medical cannabis.

The families have reacted in a mixture of anger, frustration and despair at the use of what they feel are ‘cynical parliamentary tactics’ to stop the progress of NHS access.

Politicians from different parties shared in parliament their concerns and the stories of medical cannabis patients in their constituencies. Some of the issues raised included the cost of medical cannabis, the lack of doctors who can prescribe, no support for patients and families. The politicians shared the health benefits experienced by the patients themselves.

Response to parliamentary reading

Speaking with Cannabis Health News, campaigner and mother of Alfie Dingley, Hannah Deacon commented:

“It is terribly depressing that even though the government is aware of all the issues that are deeply affecting patients, where they have no choice but be faced with large bills for cannabis medication which keeps them or their children well, they still do not give the time or thought to how they could help improve things for these very chronically ill patients.

“This bill went some way to try to improve access to medical cannabis in the U.K. and we thank Jeff Smith MP for bud continued support. Why does the government blatantly continue to prolong the suffering of so many.”

Medical cannabis campaign group, End Our Pain highlighted that ‘it seems that the government is refusing to support and will instead ‘talk out’ the bill.”

Peter Carroll, director of End Our Pain said: “This Bill may not have been perfect. But it is a genuine attempt to unlock a problem that is causing unbearable anxiety and stress to some of the most vulnerable families in the country. After the law change of 1 November 2018, which saw access under prescriptions legalised, the hopes of these families have been raised and subsequently dashed. They have been passed from pillar to post and systematically let down.

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“A succession of Ministers have expressed their interest and concern. There have been reviews, debates and motions. But these families continue to suffer. They need help right now. Our question to the Government and Ministers is this – if this Bill is not the answer, what is?

“To simply talk this Bill out without offering an alternative solution is cynical and cruel. This is a solvable problem. At the very least, these families need some sort of emergency compassionate fund to help pay for the private prescriptions until the underlying problems with NHS prescribing can be addressed.”

Joanne Griffiths, whose story was shared in parliament by MP Katherine Fletcher, said: “This is simply unforgivable. What a smack in the face this is for our families and at Christmas too. So once again, we get warm words, but no solution.

“Every month is hard to bear for us as we fight to find the money to pay for this medicine. The sums of money to solve this are tiny. All that is needed is the political will to solve it.”

Katherine Fletcher raised in parliament how Joanne’s son Ben is still denied an NHS prescription leaving the family to fundraise to meet the costs of his private medication. She highlighted that they were ‘on the verge of being broken’ due to the financial stress along with COVID and trying to run a business at the same time.

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Speaking with Cannabis Health News, Joanne explained her disappointment at the lack of contact she has had with the MP despite what was said in parliament.

“I feel that my seriously disabled son and myself were used to talk out a Bill that may help him and others like him.

Our local MP Katherine Fletcher was asked by Seema Kennedy her conservative predecessor to help our son and to date since 2019 we have had a 15-minute conversation in a pub and one letter regarding Brexit, she has ignored us constantly until this Bill. I really thought she wanted to help us when she said she would attend, but she has completely let us down again and followed the party line.

If Katherine has admiration for me as she stated, then she would fight for a compassionate fund for children that have been deemed as being exceptional by specialists and now receive the cannabis medications keeping them well and who have had an exceptional response and need where all else has failed.”

Parliamentary debates

The bill, proposed by Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington in June 2021, aims to remove some of the barriers by allowing the expansion of GPs ability to prescribe unlicensed cannabis medical products.

The GPs would be on a register maintained by the General Medical Council.  GPs in the UK can prescribe as part of a shared care arrangement, under the direction of a specialist consultant.

It would also aim to establish a Commission for the assessment of cannabis-based medicinal products.

Speaking in Parliament today, Jeff Smith highlighted that there are many patients who would benefit from the bill. He also raised the issue of forcing parents to fundraise for their medication. He raised the issues faced by different patients with epilepsy and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

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“Ministers appreciate the problem and want to try and find a way around it. The problem is that medical cannabis based medical products are a very helpful and effective treatment for a number of medical conditions. But significant numbers of people who would benefit from being prescribed medical cannabis on the NHS aren’t able to get the prescriptions that they need.

So when I was drawn for the private member’s bill, I wanted to try and find a legislative way to address this problem,” he said.

He added: “My modest proposals today try to find a way to help overcome the barriers. It’s not a magic bullet and it won’t resolve all problems, but it might in due course help to help some patients get the medicine that they need.”

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