A doctor from California who has found success tackling the US’s opioid crisis with cannabis has told Parliament that Britain is being left behind by its refusal to legalise cannabis.
Dr Frank D’Ambrosio met patients and MPs in Westminster on Wednesday before delivering a letter to the Home Office outlining why it should change course from allowing Big Pharma to monopolise the cannabis market.
Dr D’Ambrosio told Metro.co.uk: ‘The UK has fallen short when it comes to cannabis. Disinformation from Big Pharma and doctor ignorance is leaving patients vulnerable to the whims of hospital specialists given the option to only administer medical cannabis to patients as a “measure of last resort”.
‘The UK Government has legalised just a tiny part of the cannabis market and patients across the country will still not be able to benefit from the fantastic benefits of the plant.’
Dr D’Ambrosio gave evidence at the World Health Organisation earlier this week where he described how he stopped prescribing opioids to more than 10,000 patients in LA five years ago and began prescribing cannabis instead. He said he was amazed at the results in the US, where opioid addiction has become an epidemic, and he now campaigns across the world for better access to cannabis for everyone.
‘In California anyone can grow their own cannabis plants, imagine how brilliant that would be in Britain, people could grow their own medicine,’ he said. ‘It means the big companies cannot come in and monopolise the business, which is what is going to happen in Britain.’
In a letter to Sajid Javid, Dr D’Ambrosio raised the cases of children who have yet to be given the go-ahead to have cannabis medicine on the NHS.
He said: ‘I urge you now to adopt an interim licensing regime that lets patients to the same life enhancing drugs that are available in the USA, Holland and 35 other countries.’
Javid oversaw the law change that means cannabis can be prescribed by specialists – once other options have been exhausted – but has repeatedly stressed that the government has ‘no plans to decriminalise recreational cannabis’.