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Welsh campaigners to help educate doctors on medical cannabis

Rachel Rankmore and Craig Williams, will join experts in Cardiff on Wednesday.



Welsh campaigners to help educate doctors on medical cannabis
Campaigners Craig Williams and Rachel Rankmore with son's Bailey (centre) and Ross.

Cardiff campaigners will join experts to help educate doctors in Wales on the life-changing impact of medical cannabis. 

Parents and campaigners, Rachel Rankmore and Craig Williams, will join experts in Cardiff on Wednesday 5 October to help improve understanding of medical cannabis among doctors. 

Representatives from the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS), are to host the educational event, which aims to raise awareness of cannabis medicines among the medical profession.

They will be joined by Rachel and Craig, parents to 20-year-old Bailey Williams, who is prescribed medical cannabis for treatment-resistant epilepsy. 

Bailey, who has a rare form of epilepsy known as Lennox-gastaut syndrome, suffered hundreds of seizures a day before taking cannabis oil. 

According to mum Rachel, he is now “living his best life” with ambitions to be independent in the future. 

But the family are still forced to fundraise to pay for his prescription privately and have even faced the prospect of losing access to the product all together, following a change in importation regulations earlier this year. 

Rachel and Craig will share the story of how cannabis has helped Bailey, with doctors, patients and healthcare professionals from across Wales, who are invited to attend the event, Medical Cannabis: Everything You Need to Know – a practical introduction to medical cannabis and CBD.

Rachel told Cannabis Health she hopes to help clinicians understand the difference they could make to a patient with Bailey’s needs. 

“Over the last 18 years of his life, Bailey has battled epilepsy, leaving him in and out of hospital constantly. He tried over 20 pharmaceuticals, some unlicensed and untested, including vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and the ketogenic diet, all of which had horrific side effects,” she commented.

“This suffering could have been alleviated if we had had support and understanding from clinicians who had a willingness to fight for Bailey’s quality of life, especially as there was nothing left to try.”

Rachel continued: “There is a bigger picture to be seen when looking after a child with complex health and physical needs. The whole family unit is affected and left with the fall-out of drug failure, mental health and fundraising for financial support, which is strain enough without fighting for a medicine that we have clearly shown time and time again works for Bailey.”

Rachel and Craig will be joined by Dr Elie Okirie, a consultant in neurological and specialist rehabilitation and one of the first prescribers of the treatment in the UK, and Katya Kowalski, head of operations at Volteface. 

Professor Mike Barnes, chair of the MCCS will host the event, which is open to clinicians, medical students, scientists, researchers, professionals and patients curious about medical cannabis and the current state of prescribing, evidence and availability in the UK.

The MCCS is made up of over 300 clinicians, including specialist consultants in a wide range of specialisms, GPs, nurses and allied health professionals. 

Rachel added: “I will be Bailey’s voice in sharing his courageous journey and his fight for wellness.

“In doing so I hope clinicians and medical students will realise that they can make a difference to someone like Bailey and understand that prescribing cannabis shouldn’t be the last form of treatment on offer.

“We need to give doctors enough education, support and tools to prescribe.”

The event takes place at 6.30pm at the Radisson Blu Cardiff, with networking and a panel Q&A for attendees following the speakers. 

Sign up for the event here. 

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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