It’s two years since medical cannabis was legalised in the UK, giving hope to millions of people.
But as Medical Cannabis Awareness Week aims to highlight, legalisation had led to a two-tier system, with only a handful of prescriptions issued by the NHS.
Around 1.4 million people in the UK rely on cannabis to treat a medical condition. Those unable to afford to spend thousands of pounds a month are forced to rely on the black market to obtain their medicine.
Medical Cannabis Awareness Week is an initiative of Patient-Led Engagement for Access or PLEA – a community of medical cannabis patients and advocates calling for greater access on the NHS.
PLEA outreach director, Abby Hughes, said:
“It’s time to end the inequality and ensure everyone who needs it has the opportunity to benefit from medical cannabis treatment.
“During Medical Cannabis Awareness Week, we’re calling for fair access, we’re promoting medical cannabis education for all and we’re directly addressing the stigma faced by patients.”
From November 1-8, patients from around the UK will share their stories about how medical cannabis has changed their lives and detail the challenges they have faced in accessing the potentially life-changing medicine.
There are also panel discussion and Q&As with experts and advocates including the Drug Science team, Professor Mike Barnes and Cancard founder, Carly Mayer.
Medical Cannabis Awareness Week will provide a platform for the medical community to talk openly about the potential for medical cannabis to support those with chronic conditions.
Dr Mala Mawkin, Head of Market Development at Cellen Health and Advisory Board Member at PLEA, said that most medical professionals do not yet feel comfortable to prescribe cannabis medicine.
Dr Mawkin said:
“We have made huge progress to be able to have pharmaceutical-grade THC/CBD medicines for patients that are cheaper and safer than the illicit market.
“The next steps are to invest in research, medical education and address the stigma faced by patients.”
To find out more about the annual event and for a full programme of Q&As and webinars, see the PLEA website.