Patients tell of relief from pain: Jonathan Foster on the arguments for allowing cannabis to be used as a therapy
Wednesday 20 October 1993
Colin, 39, from Warrington, Cheshire, suffers from multiple sclerosis. He smokes a cannabis joint regularly, and did so before the onset of his illness. Now it has assumed a remedial as well as recreational role. 'I sleep better and, during periods of pain and spasticity, it definitely helps,' he said.
Jill, 46, also from the Warrington area, found cannabis helped to reduce muscle spasms. About 30 MS sufferers this year formed the British Association of Cannabis Therapeutics, a campaign for limited legalisation, which cites medical evidence that THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, calms inflammation, nausea and convulsions.
Claire Hodges, 36, who runs the association, said: 'I now wake up in the morning and my balance is sensat ional. So-called experts are always quick to point to the side effects, but if you read about the possible side effects of aspirin, you'd never take it again.'
Opinion among MS sufferers and researchers is divided. Yesterday's court case was not relevant to Colin or Jill, since the cannabis for which Dr Ann Biezanek was prosecuted had been supplied to her daughter, who does not suffer from MS.
In the United States, glaucoma sufferers have claimed cannabis lowered pressure in the eye. A handful of patients have established a legal right to cannabis to relieve chronic pain or the nauseating effects of chemotherapy.
Researchers in Cambridge have found a receptor site in the spleen which makes feasible the idea of administrating THC without any of the side effects of cannabis - short- term impairment of attention, memory, tracking and co-ordination. Some research suggests cannabis quickens heart rate dangerously.
Even among MS sufferers there is no consensus about the usefulness of the drug, and the leading MS organisation, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, is sceptical.
For Colin, yesterday's acquittal will not legitimise his supply. 'I just hope it means we are less likely to be prosecuted,' he said.
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...