It’s been 10 years since my diagnoses and my adult life has consisted of battling the symptoms of my chronic condition. My original use of cannabis had always been recreational, until I began to notice the relief I felt from my Lupus symptoms after smoking cannabis.
As a proud cannabis consumer, it may be considered a biased opinion for me to say I am certain that my cannabis use from the beginning of my diagnoses has allowed me to continue to lead a normal life and has only benefited me positively, but the proof seems apparent.
To my friends I’m just a stoner with a great excuse, but to others in the same position as me struggling daily with a chronic illness and living in a country where it’s illegal to grow, distribute or possess, I am probably seen as lucky. Lucky because I am able to obtain the cannabis I need. Many people suffering do not have these links to obtain cannabis and find themselves forced to buy from the black market.
The variety of cannabis strains available out there that can target specific symptoms and conditions are abundant. The benefits of legalisation would allow patients to choose and use what we need when we need it, without being penalised for simply wanting to lead a normal life that cannabis can offer us. Under a legal system, patients could be more educated on the different ways to medicate with cannabis, like vaping, smoking, food edibles and capsules, importantly including information on all the ways you can medicate using cannabis without getting high.
The fact that the MHRA only deemed CBD a legitimate medicine in 2016 shows we still have a long way to go. Legalisation would allow for patients to control the dosage of THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, as well as various terpenes and flavinoids, picking strains most suited to relieving their symptoms.
Cannabis has also been shown to show a significant remission rate in patients with chronic conditions.
Many US doctors have clearly recognised cannabis as an effective tool in treating the symptoms of autoimmune disorders. So why are we so behind in the UK, when the evidence clearly suggests cannabis can reduce nausea caused by medications and treatments like chemotherapy, reduce chronic pain, improve appetite in patients and calm anxiety?
Maybe it’s because we have been taught to fear cannabis. This fear has cost people their lives. They have been scared-mongered into believing that cannabis is a dangerous drug that they should not have access to and taught to rely solely on pharmaceutical medicine which can also carry risks.
I dream of a day when I can walk into a local dispensary and pick up an eighth of cannabis to relieve my pain without any fear of repercussions, but I am conscious that we need to try to achieve legalisation in the right way. We need to ensure everybody gets a share of the new industry.
What will legalisation mean for us as consumers? Will we have any say in how the cannabis we consume is grown? These are all questions we need to explore as we navigate the final dark years of cannabis prohibition.
For now, we must continue to do our part in the cannabis community to prove the positives that come from cannabis consumption whether it be medical or recreational. We need to eradicate and backwards stereotype that cannabis is a bad and dangerous drug and open the minds of those in power to achieve our aims of cannabis legalisation in the UK.