31 Oct The Medical Establishment Shows Its True Colours On Cannabis. A Betrayal of Patients.

NHS England has today published what it describes as prescribing guidance – ‘Cannabis-based products for medicinal use: Guidance to clinicians‘.

The actual guidance is buried within a mountain of bureaucratic doublespeak and requires downloading PDFs from the Royal College of Physicians (download here) and the British Paediatric Neurology Association (download here). In both cases, aside from chemotherapy-induced nausea, the guidance amounts to ‘do not prescribe’. This is a travesty of the intention of these reforms and demonstrates how the medical establishment is more interested in protecting its self-interest than in helping patients gain the benefits of cannabis as medicine.  Cowardly and scared are the two words which best sum this up.

It’s no surprise that doctors in the UK are ignorant about the use of cannabis as medicine. They have been subject to the same relentless torrent of reefer madness propaganda from government and media as the rest of society. They have been prevented even from learning about the endocannabinoid system by the authoritarian policy of prohibition and any doctor in the UK who has any experience of cannabis as medicine will have been in breach of professional ethics as well as the law.

But it’s deeply disappointing that the authors of these documents have made no effort to understand the excellent work that is being done by medical professionals in other countries. The Royal College of Physicians and the BPNA will be a laughing stock across the world in the many more enlightened and educated jurisdictions where patients are gaining great benefit. But of course, this isn’t a laughing matter. In fact, these two so-called professional bodies are making it a tragedy.

Clearly, what is in the best interests of patients is that we must bring in expertise from overseas. There are eminent doctors abroad who will be glad to step in, particularly in private practice, and pick up this baton which the NHS has fumbled and dropped in the most clumsy fashion.

This is a huge opportunity for those in private medicine who can set aside these cowardly excuses and make the most of the new regulations for patients who are fortunate enough to be able to afford it.

For the average Briton with chronic pain, Crohn’s Disease or an epileptic child this is a kick in the teeth from the profession that is supposed to care for them.

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  • discerner

    The ‘Great Reluctant Medicinal Cannabis Legislation’ as now clarified by the government is nothing short of rip off – a half-hearted pathetic attempt to assuage public opinion for medical cannabis (mc).

    The reluctance of many medical professionals to accept and prescribe mc due to potential risks(low dose THC can be effective) of using mc is no different to all the alternative medicine readily prescribed by them.The white pamphlet that accompanies such highlights all the risks and dangers of using such medicine.

    So effectively we are back to square one for most mc patients. Therefore the fight to gain proper recognition for mc as a generic medicine shall continue with great diligence.

    It is not unsurmountable to gain advice, knowledge from overseas, or to employ relevant people from abroad in the initial period to ease through the implementation of mc. All that is required is political will. In other professional fields this already would have been done – but with demonised cannabis a minimalist approach is all that has been afforded. So the vast majority of mc patients will not be able to legally obtain mc.

    Clearly there is an urgent need for mc education for many in the medical profession – however,there appears to be no enthusiasm for this. The governments approach is unacceptable for such a serious matter.

    The legislation appears to be cack-handed without proper thought, or examination of all the practicalities involved in the implementation process and levels of medical expertise required. A properly considered and structured approach that was not fast-tracked to placate public opinion, and was more fit for purpose would have been the appropriate response by the government. So we currently have many uneducated, sceptical, and bias medical professionals who are in a state of limbo, or are opposed to mc.

    So the initial battle is over, but the war will continue.