05 Jul An ‘Expert Panel’ On Medicinal Cannabis Without A Single Expert On It?

Dr Michael McBride, Chair of the Cannabis-based Medicines Expert Panel

To be fair, the members of the expert panel are hardly a surprise. It’s the medical establishment writ large. The chairman, Dr John McBride, was, according to Charlotte Caldwell, “instrumental” in stopping Billy’s medicine being prescribed, despite the original prescription coming from a consultant neurologist specialising in paediatric epilepsy.

A government which has denied any medicinal value in cannabis for nearly 50 years needs ‘cover’ for its long overdue U-turn. Surely though, there needs to be at least one member of the panel who has some expertise in the subject? It’s doubtful that any of the members have ever seen a vaporiser or could tell the difference between weed, hash and a concentrate. They’d probably just call them all ‘skunk’.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer

The intention is probably to turn ‘medicinal cannabis’ into a pill or a bottle of medicine, a nice square peg that these bureaucrats can slot into their square hole. Such servants of the status quo are incapable of considering that modern medicine might have anything to learn from traditional, plant-based medicine that has been used successfully for millennia, instead of barely a century of the simplistic, reductionist theory that they represent. Of course it shouldn’t be a matter of either/or, we should use the best of both theories because both have much to offer to the health of the nation.

It’s instructive that Professor Dame Sally Davies managed to find “overwhelming” evidence of the medicinal value of cannabis in about 24 hours flat. The evidence has been wilfuly ignored by every government and the self-serving individuals who have held the role of Home Secretary since 1971.

It’s astonishing though that in her review, delivered at lightning speed, she’s come up with this pejorative term “grown cannabis” yet seems enthusiastic about synthetic cannabinoids on which there is precious little clinical research and strong evidence of severe, even life-threatening side effects, totally different from the natural product.

Dame Sally writes: “Cannabis has many active chemicals and only cannabis or derivatives produced for medical use can be assumed to have the correct concentrations and ratios. Using other forms, such as grown or street cannabis, as medicine for therapeutic benefit is potentially dangerous.”

Where else does cannabis come from if it isn’t ‘grown’? It has to be synthesised in a lab. Why on earth would Dame Sally want to go down that route when no other jurisdiction enabling legal access to medicinal cannabis has done so? Bedrocan products are grown specifically for medical use and standardisation of “correct concentrations and ratios” is exactly what the company is focused on.

This is a clash between two different approaches to medicine which, as I say should be regarded as complementary, not contradictory but we cannot possibly move forward if the only ‘experts’ have no expertise!

To be fair, this is all unfolding at breakneck speed. Imagine Theresa May hovering in the wings, the hard line prohibitionist eager for any opportunity to kick this back into touch. As it stands, the expert panel will fail, it’s bound to. We have to give Dame Sally a chance to adjust to the new reality. With the assistance of Professor Mike Barnes, CLEAR will be keeping a close watch on progress and we will keep Dame Sally apprised. We have already written to her twice this week setting out our concerns and we will do so on a regular basis.

  • discerner
    Posted at 13:57h, 06 July Reply

    This minimalist and bias approach by a so called panel of experts is an attempt to deflect favourable public opinion from the governments previous callous attitude to medicinal cannabis.

    The government seems to me to be determined to ‘play down’ the benefits of cannabis medicine, and will make it as difficult as possible especially for adults to obtain.

    No doubt any law appertaining to cannabis medicine will probably be the strictest in the world, in effect almost impossible for it to be worth while producing or prescribing.

    As well cannabis oil products using concentrated alcohol are not suitable for everyone – thus the importance of the availability of Bedrocan for adults. Of course this is unlikely to happen initially, if at all. The expert panel should be made aware that Bedrocan can be used as an edible or drink rather than smoked.

    What we have so far is a tentative beginning to the matter, which is being examined reluctantly in the wake of positive public opinion for medicinal cannabis.

  • JamesIndus
    Posted at 18:04h, 06 July Reply

    Well done, these are my concerns and you voice our views. Thank you

  • Wendy Goodwin
    Posted at 11:01h, 12 July Reply

    Dame Sally lost my respect “grown or street cannabis, as medicine for therapeutic benefit is POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS”. Personally I have known 2 people die from alcohol and 2 from opioids. abuse but not one from cannabis. How many young adults suffer from mental illness that have not smoked weed? They want it legalised for the tax money but it will take GW two years to get their next 45 acres of greenhouses set up throughout the country. We must educate the whole country about the Endocannabinoid System(ECS) as no-one else will so that they understand anyone with a deficiency in their ECS can be helped by these phytocannabinoids safely. They want to regulate everything about cannabis but big business is in control and really Theresa is just a puppet with those faceless backroom boys doing all the planning.

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    Posted at 12:32h, 12 July Reply

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