Christine Jardine: Make medical cannabis available for all who need it

The Home Secretary should make medicinal cannabis available to all who need it, says Christine Jardine, after Sajid Javid granted an emergency licence for Billy Caldwell to be treated with the drug. His supply had been confiscated by customs earlier this week.

Christine is supporting her constituentKaren Gray, whose son Murray has Epilepsy and needs the drug to control his seizures:

Sajid Javid has done the right thing for a young boy enduring unimaginable pain.

These treatments can have enormous benefits for patients like Billy Caldwell and my constituent Murray Gray.

The Home Secretary should now take common sense steps to ensure that these treatments are available for all those patients who could benefit from them.

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6 Comments

  • “Make medical cannabis available for all who need it”

    Or, make cannabis available to all who want it

  • OnceALibDem 17th Jun '18 - 9:18am

    Whatever your view on drug legalisation there is simply no justification for not allowing medically justified treatments. The far more dangerous (by any objective standard) morphine is regularly (if not routinely) prescribed – including for people to self-medicate

  • Toby Keynes 17th Jun '18 - 9:24am

    James.
    “Or, make cannabis available to all who want it.”

    Absolutely right. But there are apparently logical and reasonable arguments for Prohibition of cannabis, and it will take quite a while to overturn those agruments (just as it took 18 years to overturn the arguments for Prohibition of alcohol in the US).

    There are no such arguments for prohibiting the medicinal use of a cannibis derivitive in this case. The family’s GP has already prescribed the treatment. Only a combination of incompetence and callousness has blocked that treatment (and threatened to end that doctor’s career).

  • How much money has the NHS wasted in the last week treating Billy Caldwell in hospital when he could have simply taken the tablets already prescribed to him in the safety and comfort of his own home? His story is extreme, but not unique. Think how many other people are receiving overly expensive NHS treatment for a condition that could be treated more cheaply with medical cannabis?

    On the paper review this morning there was a government apologist insisting that Javid acted promptly to deal with this, which is nonsense. This particular case could have been addressed before his mother was stood outside the hospital explaining to the press that his life was at risk.

    I doubt I’m alone in having a friend of a friend with MS whose grandson buys her street cannabis to treat her condition. That’s not right.

    I back our manifesto pledge to move to full legalisation/regulation of cannabis for recreational use, but accept that’s a bigger debate. However, it shouldn’t be that difficult to persuade enough politicians that medical cannabis should be available on prescription. If need be, they can require it is only ever for certain conditions after certain criteria have been met, rather than for everyone turning up to their friendly GP with a ‘bad back’. While systems are being put in place and to alleviate anxiety, it could require the sign-off of a second medical professional at the health board or even the Department of Health.

    We need prompt action on this, and if that means putting safe-guards in place to comfort the anxious, so be it.

  • Or, make cannabis available to all who want it

    See, this is your problem. I, and I suspect a lot of other people, would be much more sympathetic towards calls for a loosening of the law on use of cannabis for medical purposes if it weren’t so blatant that most of those calling for it are actually just after a situation where anyone who wants to get high can do so legally.

    This means that any change in the law has to be carefully examined and the minimum necessary, to stop a situation where, for example, cannabis remains de jure illegal but de facto anyone who wants it can just get a ‘weed card’ for any made-up medical complaint and then take it whenever they want.

    If someone announces, loudly and in advance, their intention to take a mile, then you have to be very careful not to give them an inch.

  • @OnceALibDem

    Quite right about Morphine. And indeed Diamorphine (Heroin) is frequently used in obstetric and cardiac wards, and very occasionally even at home in end-state palliative care.

    Objectively ethanol (alcohol) is as dangerous (if not more dangerous) a compound as opiates (Morphine, Diamorphine, Methadone, etc), and causes far more death and problems to society. As Toby Keynes suggesrs, a lot of the issues around legalisation/prohibition are very much about social perception which develop over generations and take a lot of time to evolve, which means policy changes will inevitably be gradualist.

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