My Life and Cannabis by Barry Chong

Club News

For far too long, cannabis has been supressed by big corporations, big pharma and governments; when in fact it could be benefiting all of mankind on many different levels. We have heard and we have watched our government lie and deceive us about the dangers of cannabis. When the people and friends you have known throughout your life start to repeat these lies and propaganda it is then time to find, research and ultimately spread the truth to wash away the lies and deception that successive governments and prohibitionists have led them all to

I have consumed cannabis for approximately 25 years, most of the time I have kept quiet about my use of what essentially is a ‘’healing herb’’, I smoked with friends over the years and enjoyed the relaxing effects that it brought me.

I became ill back in 1999 after coming back from a Stereophonics’ gig in London and ended up in the Royal Liverpool Hospital (RLH).  At first the RLH said I had an ulcer but after further tests ruled that out, I was sent for gamma scans and an endoscopy, nothing was found during these tests yet after 4 days in the ward, my symptoms had calmed down somewhat, then I was informed it was either a parasitic infection, Ulcerative colitis or Crohns Disease. After another few days of rest the hospital I was told I had Crohns so was sent home with paracetamol and told to take another 2 weeks rest and follow up treatment would start, however I decided not to go back to the RLH as I felt I could help to control the issues and discomfort myself. I continued to use cannabis in small amounts as recreational enjoyment and all was good until my next episode in 2001. This happened 4 months before my impending wedding, that weekend I was flying to Amsterdam for a trip to Utrecht but felt I would have to cancel, my friend told me not to cancel and just get out there to chill.

Upon arriving in Holland I suffered the pain and agony I had felt in previous episode times building, so off we went to catch the train to Central Station so I could find a chemist. Upon our arrival in Amsterdam we found a chemist who we asked for Kaolin and Morphine to ease my worsening cramps, the young Pharmacist suggested we go to a coffeeshop and eat a cake as it would ease the discomfort, we thought about it for a minute and after the pharmacist said Cannabis is known to help ease the pain associated with stomach complaints we left and headed to our first coffeeshop to try it out. So after a short walk to Het Oerwoud we ordered our drinks, two cakes and a couple of grams of White Widow and found a seat. We ate the cake straight away and started to roll one waiting for the cake to ‘’kick in’’; the first spliff was lit and the stress was gone, so we decided to take some sights in, not long after we started our non-directional walk (anyone who has been to Amsterdam will know what I mean) the cake began to take effect, not only was I high but the pain and discomfort I had been feeling seemed to be easing rapidly. After a ‘’lost’’ walk we headed back to the hotel where we finished the day talking about the cake and its effect on me.
het oerwoud
The next day I woke up and felt really fresh with no stomach cramps which we found unusual after suffering so badly the day before, so off we went to Utrecht for the day. Upon arriving in Utrecht we met up with 2 Dutch friends(Patrik and Patrik) and went down to Andersom by the Dom Tower and had a good chill and chat about the previous day with them. Both Patrik’s suggested we go to a friend’s grow shop on the industrial estate outside of town for a chat with him, and after a hilarious drive to the unit we met the owner (whose name escapes me) and chatted about the benefits of cannabis to myself we talked about using in food and the benefit of a quick spliff when the pains kick in, so with my little bit of help and knowledge we headed back to Amsterdam to enjoy the rest of our short break.

Upon arrival back in the UK I pretty much forgot most of what was talked about for obvious reasons, but decided to keep it to myself. Even the future wife didn’t fully believe that cannabis could heal in such a way even though she was a cannabis smoker too and also into holistic therapies, so with my new found knowledge I chose to carry on smoking and using cannabis but not letting anyone know I was using cannabis to ease the pain from Crohns not even my GP. In the past 10 years or so I have received no NHS treatment or drugs for the condition yet have managed to get some normality into my life through not being in constant pain and living on the toilet.

Back in late 2009 my marriage ended and the pains associated with the Crohns came back with a vengeance, I tried to cut the stress down which although it helped a little never took the symptoms away, so I went back into using cannabis in food (cakes, biscuits etc.) and soon enough I was back on track again. This was when I realised that maybe I could help others by spreading the word of how cannabis can help and ease other conditions, so it was then that I started to become active as an ‘’activist’’ much to the disgust of my ex-wife who said ‘’you’re just a stoner who will believe you?’’

Currently, I am back seeing my GP again through unrelated issues, so I brought up the issue of my cannabis use and that of Sativex to all the doctors within the surgery. Some were sympathetic where as others actually believe the propaganda that is spread via the media and government, so far I have heard “stop it now, it will do you long term damage”, “it will cause you mental health issues”, “it will give you cancer”. All of these claims I have debunked with said doctors, as GW Pharmaceuticals have stated it is being used as an anti-psychotic,  as cancer treatment and also as an antispasmodic in MS patients; so now I have a doctor within the surgery who is attempting to see if I can get Sativex on prescription for my Crohns (seeing as Sativex is now a schedule 4 substance under the misuse of drugs act 1974). He doesn’t hold out much hope due to the PCT not accepting it as a viable treatment, yet knows that it is now available to those who truly need it to ease their conditions (thank you Dr Forbes).Sativex is cannabis

In recent years others and I in the Merseyside area formed the Merseyside Cannabis Supporters to spread awareness and support for those that need it. We at Merseyside Cannabis Supporters have been on the NORML-UK and UKCSC trip to Amsterdam where we went to the Cannabis College to help spread awareness of ourselves, as in the future we hope to have a CSC in the style of the Spanish CSC’s; yet that has to wait until legislation changes in the UK, hopefully that isn’t too far off.

vOnly last week we at the club headed off to Cardiff for The Million Marijuana March on May 4th, there was in excess of 1000 like-minded people marching, chanting and peacefully expressing themselves against the prohibition of Cannabis, no arrests were made and come to think of it there was no police presence at any point during the days enjoyment. The feeling we got at the march, is that there is change coming.

One thing that is needed is that the UK Government need to recognise Cannabis as a medicine with medicinal qualities, yet with that comes an admission that the past nearly 80 years that prohibition has been in force was orchestrated to manipulate the masses and has caused pain to so many innocent people along the way. With people in jail for small amounts of cannabis and still  being taken to court for as little as 0.2 gram of cannabis which is approximately £2 based on current black market values. That is a joke when they turn a blind eye to real crime with real victims, the only victims in this are those convicted for cannabis under unjust laws – all prisoners who are behind bars are in my eyes political prisoners and should be released forthwith with all convictions quashed.

I hope that in coming months and years we can look back at this period and say that we were right to keep fighting on and our brothers and sisters behind bars can come home knowing we carried on until they were released; until that time let us all keep fighting the fight and spreading the word.

Thank you.
Barry Chong