A PLYMOUTH MP has questioned whether cannabis should be available on the NHS to ease the pain of those suffering from medical conditions after meeting with medical cannabis campaigner Stuart Wyatt.
Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said in the House of Commons a constituent suffering from a debilitating illness would like to use the drug for medical reasons.
Stuart Wyatt, 41 who is a long time cannabis campaigner and suffers with ME/CFS since 2006 has been using the illegal medicine which he says is “the only thing that works!”
Responding in the HoC, Tom Brake, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, said a cannabis-derived mouth spray has been licensed as an add-on treatment for moderate to MS sufferers, and could be more widely available as treatment from next year.
For patients dealing with large amounts of pain on a daily basis year after year, being told that “maybe next year” isn’t quite the answer their want for a better quality of life was hoping for.
In Business of the House Questions, Mr Colvile said: “During the summer recess, I met Stuart Wyatt, a constituent who suffers from multiple sclerosis (incorrectly – ME is very similar symptoms and type of relief and benefit from cannabis).
“He told me that he and many others would like to use cannabis for medical reasons. Although I do not think that we should legalise cannabis at all, I do recognise that the pain of some who suffer from MS and other neurological conditions could be relieved by it.
“May we have a statement from the Secretary of State for Health on the role of cannabis in relieving pain and how it could be given on prescription?”
Mr Brake said: “I understand why he has put it on behalf of his constituent.
“He may be aware of Sativex, a cannabis-derived mouth spray licensed in the UK in 2010 as an additional treatment for moderate to severe spasticity in multiple sclerosis.
“He may also be aware that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is updating its clinical guideline on the management of MS in primary and secondary care.
“Sativex is one of the new interventions that NICE has identified for inclusion in its updated guidelines, which it expects to publish in October 2014.”
For Stuart though, and the millions of patients that are being forced to live a life of disability worse than they need to be like him, he very much is aware of the drug Sativex and has been denied the right to have it prescribed by his GP.
‘The limited NHS treatments offered for my condition are either ineffective and/or make me feel ten times worse – I’ve exhausted all avenues.Cannabis works ten times better than any NHS treatment I’ve tried, and the only side effect I ever notice is that I quite often enjoy it’
“It’s quite tedious and to a degree insulting to keep getting this same response back – that Sativex is available – when it by no means is or has it been to me. I’ve been tested for MS twice and it was negative, Sativex is prescribed to moderate to severe MS – not pain unless prescribed off label which I cannot afford, so it doesn’t cover me.
“Mr Brake may understand why my MP, Mr Colville put this forward but he clearly has a lack of understanding of the scale of the issue.
This is for funding reasons as it is a red flag medication meaning that it is not cost effective. If there were less licencing restrictions on Sativex and they were able to prescribe to the 100,000 patients with MS (just for starters) rather than 1,500 average that they are currently, it would bring the cost down.
“I have tried Sativex and it is not as effective as ingesting cannabis oil I can make at home or even smoking cannabis.
“I have a criminal record for treating my symptoms and helping other patients who need cannabis and I am not going to stop until we get the laws changed.”
Arrange a meeting with your MP and ask them to raise the issue of making medical cannabis available to those that need it in the commons – tell them Sativex is not available to you and waiting another year is not good enough.
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