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Medical cannabis in the mainstream – the UK’s recent headlines

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Medical cannabis news in the mainstream - the top headlines this week

A roundup of the latest medical cannabis news in the mainstream media.

The stigma surrounding cannabis unfortunately still remains in the mainstream press, with the Mail on Sunday publishing a story this week about “spiralling addiction, psychotic illnesses and hospitals facing a deluge of poisonings” in California which the newspaper linked with the state’s liberal cannabis laws.

However, while much of the mainstream media continues to prioritise cannabis busts over patient success stories, medical cannabis is increasingly getting the attention it deserves.

This week, The Mirror published the story of a family struggling to keep up payments for their daughter who suffers from epilepsy.

Elsewhere, Thailand‘s landmark decision to legalise cannabis consumption and cultivation has raised ears, while the business press has reported on the huge growth potential of cannabis in the UK.

Mum put £100k on credit card to pay for daughter’s medical cannabis

This week, The Mirror reported on Mum and full-time carer, Elaine Levy, who sold her family home to continue paying for her daughter Fallon’s medicinal cannabis oil. Fallon uses cannabis oil with THC to manage her intractable epilepsy seizures which were causing around ten seizures per day.

“Fallon was in a wheelchair. She couldn’t walk five minutes without having a seizure, dropping to the floor, and smashing her head without warning,” elaine told The Mirror.

“She couldn’t eat independently, talk, was barely conscious and drooled from the strong drugs doctors tried.”

Elaine and her husband Graham tested every medication they could and Fallon had surgery twice, but nothing worked. Eventually, Elaine was prescribed cannabis oil by a doctor in Holland prescribed cannabis oil with THC. In a matter of weeks, the number and length of her seizures dropped dramatically.

There were also improvements to her mental capacity and her overall quality of life. But like so many medical cannabis patients, the prescription costs began to have a huge impact on Elaine and her family’s life.

The couple ran up £100,000 of credit card debt paying for Fallon’s cannabis oil, forcing them to sell their four-bedroom family home in Hertfordshire and move into a relative’s small flat to pay for their private prescription.

But for Elaine, there was no other choice.

She said: “Once your child’s quality of life improves so much, she’s chatting and eating properly again, how can you as a parent say she can’t have it anymore?”

Elaine and a group of parents facing similar issues have launched the charity Intractable to help cover the costs of private cannabis prescriptions.

BBC’s take on Thailand’s legalisation of cannabis

Last month, Thailand legalised the cultivation and consumption of cannabis after years of taking a severe approach to drug law enforcement.

Previously, long prison sentences or, in some cases, the death penalty were common for drug offences in Thailand, but as of last month, the country now has one of the most liberal approaches in the world.

The BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head said: “Twenty-one years ago, I had one of the more searing experiences of my journalistic career. We were invited to watch, and film, the execution of five prisoners, four of them convicted drug traffickers, by firing squad in Bangkok’s Bangkwan prison.

“The look on those men’s faces, as they were walked, leg-chains clinking, to the pavilion where the executions took place, is something I shall never forget.”

Read the BBC’s take on cannabis legalisation in Thailand.

UK industry to be worth more than £1billion

London-based business newspaper City A.M. reported that the UK’s cannabis industry could be worth more than £1billion by 2026, based on new analysis, from Prohibition Partners.

CEO and co-founder of Prohibition Partners, Stephen Murphy said: “The genie is out of the bottle with the cannabis industry – North America has embraced it, and Europe is starting to. The sector has shown it can deliver huge levels of investment, economic growth and jobs for economies that embrace it.

“The UK now has to ensure it isn’t left behind as investors turn toward Europe as the next frontier of the cannabis industry. At a time when the UK sorely needs similar economic boosts, going green and backing cannabis will deliver for the UK economy.”

UK cannabis company moves HQ to Jersey

Tenacious Labs, a British consumer goods company and producer of CBD-containing wellness products, is moving its headquarters to Jersey, as reported by the Financial Times.

The company launched in London two years ago, producing CBD wellness products under various brands such as Press Pause, Hoo Raa and Aux. Having established a strong presence in Miami, Colorado and Europe, the company now has plans to extend its range of products to include non-medical THC products.

While it is currently illegal to invest in consumer THC products in the UK, Jersey last summer renewed its laws to permit proceeds from cannabis products of all forms provided they are legally in the country of sale.

Tenacious Labs CEO Nick Morland told FT that the move is a necessary step for expanding the business. The company is also currently raising approximately $100 million to aid its growth plans.

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