`I have taken it for many years'

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The Independent Online
ANDREW COLDWELL, 52, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 18 years ago. Now confined to a wheelchair, he started smoking cannabis to control his muscle spasms and loss of bladder control. This was after conventional treatments failed and he experienced severe side-effects from prescription drugs. Friends introduced him to cannabis after he suffered severe muscle spasms at a local cricket match.

The retired engineer believes that cannabis should be legalised for medical use and calculates that he saves the NHS hundreds of pounds by using it as a pain reliever. "I've found that cannabis in its natural form suits me and I have taken it for many years. I'm not prepared to go down the road of taking a substitute," he said.

"If I could find something as effective as cannabis I would take it. The police know that I take cannabis for medical reasons and that I take it responsibly," he said. "I'm a reliable adult and I don't want this nanny state telling me what I can do."