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Medical cannabis in the news – top stories from the last week

All your cannabis news in one place.



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Your weekly round-up of the latest coverage of medical cannabis in the mainstream media.

While Cannabis Health has reported on the UK’s grappling with medical cannabis access and legislation since day one, mainstream media is increasingly turning its focus on the subject.

In the interest of opening up cannabis medicines to patients and finally breaking the taboo this increased coverage can only be a good thing; even with the instances of misinformation and skewed opinions.

Silicon Valley’s social media empires may reign supreme, but national mainstream media retains the power to change views and mobilise action.

In case you missed them, here are some of the top headlines from the last week:

Mother’s plea for urgent access

The BBC this week shared the story of Isaac, a three-year-old with the rare developmental disorder Lujan-Fryns syndrome who has up to 80 seizures a day.

Having seen her son try 13 anti-epilepsy drugs without success, his mum Sarah Sugden has urged the NHS to prescribe him medical cannabis.

Just before his second birthday, Isaac had his first epileptic seizure, although Ms Sugden was told it was unlikely to have been the first, the BBC reports. He was transferred to specialists at Leeds General Infirmary after doctors at Hull Royal Infirmary were unable to control the seizures.

Sarah described the side effects of the various drugs he was administered as “horrendous” and believes medicinal cannabis could help.

No NHS prescription has been forthcoming, however, with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust telling the BBC that there were “clear guidelines” around the drug and consultants took decisions based on patients’ clinical needs. See the story here.

Landmark ruling for cannabis supplier

Cancer patient Andrew Baines made headlines this week after he avoided a 15-year jail sentence following his arrest for possession of £10,000 worth of cannabis.

The 46-year-old father of two had supplied hundreds of patients with medical cannabis oil.

A landmark ruling saw the CPS opt not to pursue charges, issuing a six-month community order instead, the lowest possible punishment.

Patients who had received medical cannabis from Baines submitted scores of letters to the court, describing how he had saved their lives. Here’s how the Independent reported the story.

Could cannabis help amid HRT shortage?

Recent problems regarding the shortage of HRT in the UK have meant more people are talking about the menopause.

Such is the nature of the crisis that the government has appointed a HRT tsar to fix the issue, but campaigners say not enough is being done and so far the biggest change has been the rationing of HRT medication.

Amid the HRT crisis women have been looking for alternative ways to boost their oestrogen levels and alleviate the symptoms of menopause. spoke to Menopause Experts CEO Dee Murray about the crisis affecting women.

Ms Murray told Express that some of the symptoms of Menopause can be alleviated with CBD, describing it as a “good natural alternative for women who perhaps cannot take HRT.

“It may help with mood, keeping them calmer, helping with anxiety, so there are lots of ways CBD oil can help,” she said.

The rise of cannabis tourism in the US

Cannabis tourism made the daily cover of Forbes this week with a feature on the rising trend of cannabis tourism which is estimated to be worth $17 billion in the US alone.

Forbes takes a deep dive into the states where cannabis is legalised and their approach to cannabis tourism.

In Colorado, the state’s tourism office does not actively promote cannabis tourism but its entrepreneurs are starting to jump on the trend. For example, a boutique hotel in Denver is preparing to open what will be the city’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounge at a hotel.

Forbes also highlighted that the latest research shows that the typical cannabis traveller looks less like a stereotypical ‘stoner’ and more like a standard holiday-maker.

Generally, they are millennials or younger (63 per cent), with a university degree (59 per cent), a job (82 per cent) and an average household income of $87,000, according to a report from the Cannabis Travel Association International (CTAI).

“By 2025, 50% of travellers in the U.S. are going to be millennials,” Brian Applegarth, the organisation’s founder told Forbes.

“And their relationship to cannabis consumption is extremely normalised compared to the stigmatised industry leaders of today.”

Spain looks at legalising medicinal cannabis

As Spain moves towards becoming the latest European country to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medicinal use,  iNews reported this week on the country’s transition from Europe’s biggest illegal cannabis growing nation to becoming a hub for legal cannabis.

The Spanish proposal is likely to gain support from the Socialist government, their junior far-left coalition partner Unidas Podemos and a series of smaller regional parties. But it is likely to face resistance from the conservative opposition People’s Party and the hard-right Vox party.

“Patients should be in the hands of the state and the doctors, not the drug traffickers,” Carola Pérez, the president of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, told the online paper.

Thanks to its warm climate and plenty of space, Spain is the biggest producer of cannabis in Europe. If cannabis is legalised for medicinal use, it could lead to a boom for the industry which would be controlled by the Spanish Medical Agency.


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Fair Trials and Last Prisoner Project seek to launch global cannabis justice project

Fair Trials’ Global CEO Norman L. Reimer to discuss the project at Cannabis Europa Conference in London on June 29.



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A new initiative from Fair Trials and the Last Prisoner Project aims to redress the harm caused by cannabis prohibition and to secure relief for those in prison for cannabis-related convictions.

The criminal justice reform NGO, Fair Trials hopes that the industry will support its work in countries across the globe where cannabis laws are being liberalised. Through collaboration with local partners in appropriate jurisdictions, the Fair Trials project will identify people in need of legal assistance, and recruit, train and match volunteer lawyers to take on their cases.

Fair Trials has enlisted the help of the Last Prisoner Project, a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis sector.

More and more jurisdictions are allowing adults to use and distribute medical and recreational cannabis. But after decades of prohibition, countless people remain behind bars or continue to suffer the collateral consequences of a cannabis conviction.

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“The injustice of cannabis prohibition has resulted in millions of people worldwide serving time in prison or being saddled with a cannabis conviction, which brings with it a lifetime of harmful consequences, ranging from education and employment opportunities to immigration status and parental rights,” said Fair Trials Global CEO, Norman L Reimer.

“Of course, these harmful effects of prohibition not only impact the individuals charged, but also their families and communities. And those effects have been borne disproportionately by minorities, communities of colour, and the socio-economically disadvantaged. Legalising cannabis alone does not equal justice. Together, we must address the ongoing harms of past prohibition and leave no cannabis prisoner behind.”

The project will be modelled on the US Cannabis Justice Initiative, a collaborative effort between the cannabis industry and volunteer lawyers in the United States. When Norman Reimer was the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), he partnered with the Last Prisoner Project to establish the initiative.

“Key to the success of the initiative has been generous donations from legal cannabis companies and consumers nationwide,” said Last Prisoner Project Co-Founder Steve DeAngelo. “Fair Trials, with its global reach as the world’s criminal justice watchdog, is uniquely positioned to build and house the infrastructure that’s going to be needed.”

Tomorrow (29 June), Norman Reimer will address the Cannabis Europa Conference discussing the project. Mr Reimer will be part of a panel entitled ‘Leave No Cannabis Prisoner Behind,’ and will be joined on that panel by Mary Bailey, Managing Director at the Last Prisoner Project; Dr. Laura Garius, Policy Lead at Release; and Denzel Uba, an individual impacted by criminal cannabis prohibition.

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TOWIE star Amy Childs launches CBD range in honour of Jorja Foundation

The product range sees a portion of the proceeds going to the Jorja Foundation.



Amy Childs at the launch of her new CBD range, Jorja Botanicals

TOWIE star Amy Childs launched her new CBD range this week, with a star-studded event that shone a spotlight on the story of six-year-old Jorja Emerson.

Amy Childs was joined by former Love Islanders, Amy Hart and Cara Delahoyde-Massey, alongside her  co-stars, Frankie Essex, Tom Skinner, Carina Lepore, Saffron Lempriere and Mark Ferris, for a heart-warming event celebrating the launch of her new CBD Infused beauty range, Jorja Botanicals.

The signature collection sees a portion of the proceeds going to the Jorja Foundation, which was set up in honour of six-year-old medical cannabis patient, Jorja Emerson.

The event saw The Only Way Is Essex star Frankie Essex, break down in tears as she heard Jorja’s story. Frankie, who gave birth to twins four weeks ago, wiped her eyes when Robin Emerson, Jorja’s father, showed videos of the life-threatening seizures his daughter was suffering before they discovered medical cannabis

Love Island star, Amy Hart has since taken to Instagram to spread the word about the latest political campaign that sees Childs and Emerson petitioning to make medical cannabis more widely available on the NHS

The Jorja Botanicals range was inspired by Jorja, who was diagnosed with a rare chromosome abnormality called 1q43q44 deletion, which has a side effect of life-threatening seizures. Her illness resulted in her being admitted to intensive care on two separate occasions, where Robin was told that she may not make it.

jorja botanicals

TOWIE stars joined Amy Childs for the launch of her new CBD range

To save his daughter’s life, Emerson knew that he had to dig deep and find a treatment that would not only help Jorja but ultimately go on to help others.

At the time it was still illegal to prescribe cannabis in the UK. Emerson joined the campaign to see medical cannabis legalised in the UK in November 2018, and Jorja’s was among the first children to be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis.

In 2021 he went on to create the Jorja Foundation – a charity set up to help other families and children going through the same battles that Robin had to face.

The Jorja Foundation’s core principles are to fund special needs equipment that is not funded through the health system, fund family counselling, private appointments and tests when a second opinion is needed, as well s cannabis-based treatment for children in the UK and to continue to campaign and educate for wider NHS access in the UK for cannabis-based medications.  

Childs commented: “When I saw Robin & Jorja’s story on social media it broke my heart.

As a mum, I couldn’t imagine the pain of being told to take my child home to say goodbye to them. I love that Robin has fought for Jorja & is now helping other families with the Jorja Foundation. 

“I’m so happy that I can help the foundation by being the Creative Director of Jorja Botanicals. We have created some beautiful products for the whole family to enjoy. We will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to the foundation so that we can help as many families as possible. ”

 Emerson added: “ This is the fruition of a lot of hard work over many months and I am extremely proud to launch what is the first family brand in this category. In the coming weeks, we will also be launching a ‘parent’ focused cosmetic range in partnership with our creative director Amy Childs and our premium line of tincture oils.”


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South Africa launches first trial of cannabis for chronic pain

The study will test whether cannabis can replace opioids in the management of chronic pain.



south africa cannabis trial

South Africa’s first cannabis trial has launched after initial results “show promise” for the treatment as a replacement for opioids.

The Pharma Ethics Observational Study is led by Biodata, a subsidiary of Labat Africa, and will test whether cannabis can replace opioids in the management of chronic pain.

The study will involve 1,000 participants who have been taking opioids for pain management for at least three months and are prepared to switch to cannabis as an alternative.

Biodata is the brainchild of Dr Shiksha Gallow, a cannabis clinician and the principal investigator in the trial which took over 18 months to get official clearance.

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Dr Gallow said the trial is set to be ground-breaking as South Africa’s first real-world study of medical cannabis. Researchers predict that it will provide much-needed insight into the link between cannabis genetics and patient outcomes.

Dr Gallow told Cannabiz Africa: “We are currently recruiting patients, and data-capturing all the questionnaires and feedback from the patients for the live Study. It has been fairly slow. However, more options have been introduced, as suggested by the patients in the pilot study.

“The pilot results of the study were very promising, as it showed 98 per cent of the patients have some sort of pain relief from the cannabis.

“We were able to wean these patients off their opioid treatment. In the pilot group of patients below the age of 55, it was shown this group preferred to smoke cannabis and patients older than 55 years preferred oil. The patients who smoked the cannabis had relief almost immediately, while the oil took some time to alleviate their pain.”

“Once we reach the sample size required and all of the relevant data has been collated, the results of the study will be published. We have currently renewed this study for another year, due to the initial slow uptake of research participants.”

Patients can apply to be research participants through the Biodata website.

Labat is expanding its footprint over the next few months with the introduction of CannAfrica kiosks in major shopping malls.

The company believes these will be the “ideal locations for physical sign-up points for the study”.

Labat said the kiosks will also serve as Biodata dispensaries and is engaging with a number of vape stores to do the same, although these would have to be subject to South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s pharma-ethics requirements.

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