Nurses from our region are leading controversial campaign to legalize medical cannabis.
Tracey Risebrow, vice-chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Suffolk branch, says the drug should be made available for the treatment of some health conditions.
She’ll put forward a motion backing the plan at their national conference in Belfast on the weekend.
“There’s lots of evidence out there, that this is good for patients, particularly MS patients.
As nurses we should always be doing the best for our patients. It seems a bit unfair for something that could benefit them, to not be available.
No medicine ever works for everybody, but it is another option there.”
– Tracey Risebrow, Vice- chair, RCN, Suffolk Branch
Five years ago, Deryn Blackwell from Watton in Norfolk was told he had just days to live after being diagnosed with two rare cancers.
Deryn had undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy following his diagnosis at the age of 10, but doctors said nothing else could be done to save him.
His mum Callie gave him cannabis oil to alleviate his suffering and remarkably he survived.
Deryn believes the drug helped to keep him alive.
He said: “I do believe the cannabis helped me to stay alive.
“There’s was nothing else going on apart from this tincture that mum was giving me, so there is no other thing that I can think of for it be other than the cannabis.”
Legalizing cannabis is controversial because of worries of addiction and the impact on mental health.
Deryn’s mum has been campaigning to legalize the drug for four years.
She works at CBD Brothers near Bury Saint Edmunds – a company that makes legal cannabis-based products in the UK.
“We are the biggest exporters of medical cannabis in this country. Yet according to our government it has no medicinal benefits.
It’s infuriating. If we can be the largest exporters of cannabis, then why on earth can’t we have it here.
We need something to start a discussion, we need somebody to start pushing this to get the first steps taken, to hopefully full legalization.”
– Callie Blackwell, Deryn’s mum
The Home Office says cannabis in its raw form has no medicinal or legitimate use in the UK.
In a statement they said: “We recognize that people with chronic pain and debilitating illnesses are looking to alleviate their symptoms.
“However, it is important that medicines are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market, so that doctors and patients are assured of their efficacy, quality and safety.
“Cannabis is listed as a schedule 1 drug as in its raw form it currently has no recognized medicinal or legitimate use in the UK beyond for potential research and is therefore subject to strict control restrictions. “