PCC Complaint. The Daily Mail, 20th June 2011
“Drug addicts get methadone on the NHS… why can’t I have the cannabis spray that eases agonies of MS?”, the Daily Mail, 20-06-11
I wish to make a complaint concerning the above article which is still available online at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2005287/Drug-addicts-methadone-NHS–I-cannabis-spray-eases-agonies-MS.html
I make the complaint on my own account but also in my capacity as the Leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), a UK political party, of P.O.Box 674, Salfords, Redhill, RH1 9BN. For the purposes of correspondence, please use my personal address as below.
1. This article breaches the Editors’ Code Of Practice clause 1.i) in that it publishes inaccurate, misleading and distorted information.
2. In paragraphs nine and ten the article states: “Sativex does contain THC, the chemical that gives recreational users of cannabis a ‘high’. But patients using Sativex don’t get high because the dose is much lower and it is a controlled form of the substance.” This is inaccurate, misleading and distorted information.
3. Sativex does contain THC but it also contains all 66+ cannabinoids found naturally in the plant. Sativex in fact IS cannabis and to attempt to distinguish it is inaccurate, misleading and distorted. It is manufactured by heating herbal cannabis with solid CO2 under pressure and then adding ethanol to precipitate an oil to which propylene glycol and peppermint oil are added for preservative and taste benefits. Pharmacologically, cannabis and Sativex are identical.
4. THC is not the only chemical that gives recreational users of cannabis a ‘high’. As well as the 66+ cannabinoids, there are perhaps another 400 substances present in the plant. The exact mechanism and the interactions of all these substances which contribute to the high is not fully understood. Suggesting that the high is only created by THC and that the THC dose is “lower” and “controlled” in Sativex and therefore users do not get high is inaccurate, misleading and distorted.
5. Users of Sativex do get high in exactly the same way as recreational users of cannabis. The Sativex summary of product characteristics (SPC) describes the effect as “dizziness”, “somnolence”, “intoxication”, “feeling drunk” and “euphoric mood”.
6. The dose of THC is not lower than for recreational users of cannabis. According to the Sativex SPC, each spray of Sativex contains 2.7 mg of THC. An average of four sprays at a time are indicated producing a dose of 10.8mg of THC. An average recreational smoker of cannabis will use 0.2g of cannabis containing 10% THC producing a dose of 20mg of THC. However, at least half of the THC in cannabis is burned away during smoking whereas all the THC in Sativex is ingested.
7. The term “a controlled form of the substance ” is meaningless and is just an attempt to distinguish Sativex from cannabis which is inaccurate, misleading and distorted.
I would be grateful if you would deal with this complaint at your earliest convenience. I shall be happy to provide any further information required or to give oral evidence in support.