A quick look at the latest coverage of medical cannabis in the mainstream media.
For better or worse, it’s no secret that the mainstream media has the power to change public opinion – even when it doesn’t always get everything right.
From patients sharing their stories, to TV stars weighing in on NHS access, medical cannabis has been cropping up a lot recently.
In case you missed it, we take a look at some of the coverage dedicated to cannabis over the last week.
Towie star’s plea for NHS access
Former The Only Way is Essex star, Amy Childs has joined forces with campaigner Robin Emerson – whose daughter Jorja has epilepsy – to lobby the Prime Minister for NHS access.
The Mirror reported earlier this week that Amy plans to go to Downing Street on 25 May, to sit down with Boris and his wife Carrie.
She aims to talk to them ‘parent to parent’ after being ‘moved to tears’ by the story of Robin Emerson, who says his six-year-old daughter Jorja had her life saved by the treatment.
Amy and the Jorja Foundation, which was launched by Robin in his daughter’s name, have launched a petition in the Sunday Mirror to campaign Parliament to grant medical cannabis on the NHS to those that need it.
Fibro patient forced to rely on dealers
A woman living with PTSD, borderline personality disorder and fibromyalgia, also told the Mirror that she is forced to rely on a local dealer due to the costs of accessing a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK.
The patient, who remained anonymous, has been using cannabis medicinally since her late 20s to manage her chronic pain.
Although she would be eligible to get the treatment legally, she says “it’s cheaper and better quality” from the illicit market.
Despite the article referring to “NHS cannabis’ – it’s worth pointing out that cannabis is not currently widely prescribed on the NHS and is only available privately for patients with her condition.
The 39-year-old said: “It’s obscenely expensive and I don’t trust the product yet.
“I would rather buy it off my dealer who I know is reliable than some official medical source and it could arrive mouldy.
“Private prescriptions are costing around £300 plus – it’s ridiculous and is why the whole thing should be legalised and regulated.”
With this week seeing the annual 4/20 celebrations take place, several news outlets have covered large-scale events taking place in Hyde Park and elsewhere in the UK.
Vice shared photos taken among the crowds in Hyde Park, with one attendee telling the publication: “I support legalisation one million and ten percent…The law needs to change.”
The UK’s leading independent scientific body on drugs, Drug Science, also featured in the article, with head of Project Twenty21, Mags Houston, highlighting how cannabis as a medicine can help “people living with chronic illnesses”.
The writer of the piece concludes: “Looking around, I’m starting to think that Daily Mail readers might have got it wrong. Weed smokers aren’t an existential threat to anything. Maybe this killer street drug is actually, you know, good?”
Former nurse forced to pay hundreds for cannabis oil
Earlier this week, Birmingham Live covered the story of ex-nurse, Rachel Brown, who is paying up to £600-a-month for a cannabis prescription, while she waits for surgery for her endometriosis.
The 32-year-old has had to give up working and usually undergoes surgery every year to remove or destroy areas of endometriosis tissue in her bowel, but she has not had an operation since 2019.
At her last gynaecology appointment in June, she said she was warned of another year-long wait for surgery.
Rachel is among 570,000 women currently waiting for help, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, as the pandemic has seen hospital waiting lists hit record levels.
She told the paper: “It’s been so bad. It feels like to them, it’s just a period. After I have surgery the pain settles. If it wasn’t for all this waiting, I wouldn’t be on private medication with cannabis oil.”
Cannabis and cancer
This weekend, the Daily Express featured an article exploring the potential benefits and risks of cannabis in the treatment of cancer.
While work is ongoing to explore whether cannabis could be used to treat cancer, there is “concern from critics” that cannabis could actually cause the disease, according to the article.
The journalist spoke to Dr Simon Erridge, of Sapphire Medical Clinics, who said: “In terms of the risk of cancer, there’s really conflated evidence; the reasons for this are because a lot of our information about exposure to cannabis comes from its use in either a recreational or illicit setting.”
It also pointed out the impact prohibition has had on the ability to research cannabis and the lack of education around it in the medical profession.
Journalist Ruby Deevoy adds: “Prohibition and lack of understanding of how cannabis/cannabinoids work among both the public and medical professionals is an issue that needs addressing so that people know how to use cannabis/cannabinoids appropriately for their needs.”
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