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  1. hi Government response letter to the ACMD on CBPMs in humans (accessible version) The Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Probation 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF Professor Owen Bowden-Jones Chair, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs 1st Floor Peel Building 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF By email only ACMD@homeoffice.gov.uk 21 January 2022 Dear Owen, Cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) in humans Thank you for your comprehensive reports dated 23 December 2019 (about the outline assessment framework setting out how the ACMD would assess the various impacts of the rescheduling, and the data sources that would be used), the 27 November 2020 report on Cannabis-Based Products for Med icinal use (CBPMs) in humans, which considered the impact of rescheduling CBPMs under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, (‘the 2001 Regulations’) and separate advice on whether the current scheduling of CBPMs remained appropriate. I am sorry for the delay in replying to you. The thorough consideration of the issues concerning CBPMs, and other cannabis-based medicines by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is greatly appreciated. From the outset the ACMD has been instrumental in ensuring that we provide the necessary access to CBPMs where clinically appropriate by assisting the Home Office to implement these legislative amendments. Nonetheless CBPMs are still a relatively new amendment and we continue to learn more as the time progresses. We appreciate the ACMD’s consideration and work on this issue while we continue to navigate this complex area. The Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have worked together to consider each proposed recommendation. I would like to clarify from the outset, that the government does not reject any of the proposed recommendations made by the ACMD. We agree with the purpose of each of the four recommendations, however we believe that some of the proposed outcomes could be delivered in a different way. Recommendation 1 The ACMD should be commissioned to conduct a further assessment of the impact of the rescheduling of CBPMs in the two years following the publication of this report, as there is not yet sufficient evidence available to fully assess any and all consequences of the legislative change. Much of this evidence would not be expected to fully emerge for several years. We agree with this recommendation, in principle, subject to the availability of sufficient data. We would be grateful if the ACMD could consider the available data in autumn 2022 and set out any potential limitations to a further assessment. On receipt of this advice the government will revisit this recommendation and provide a further re-commission if appropriate. Recommendation 2 The availability of a CBPM patient registry should be recognised as crucial for future assessments of the impact of the rescheduling of CBPMs in November 2018. The government should continue to support the development of an official CBPM patient registry. Depending on whether the official CBPM patient registry is developed to be able to collect all necessary CBPM private prescription data, the government may wish to consider how the official registry can interact with those in development outside of government. We accept this recommendation. Following successful pilots in January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE-I) has established a patient registry for patients prescribed unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use and licensed cannabis-based medicines. As of 1 April 2021, completion of the patient registry is a requirement under the NHS Standard Contract. As such, it will be mandated by NHSE-I for use by commissioners for all contracts for healthcare services other than primary care contracts. In due course, the patient registry will be extended across the UK. The registry currently only covers NHS prescriptions and NHSE-I are conducting further work to explore how to capture data from private providers. Recommendation 3 Research should be commissioned: a) to assess the impacts of the rescheduling of CBPMs in November 2018 on public knowledge and attitudes towards cannabis, unlicensed CBPMs, licensed CBPMs and licensed cannabis-based medicines; and b) to explore the safety, quality and efficacy of unlicensed CBPMs, licensed CBPMs and licensed cannabis-based medicines. We agree with the ACMD on the importance of understanding public knowledge and attitudes towards cannabis, unlicensed CBPMs, licensed CBPMs and licenced cannabis-based medicines. As part of this we will continue to review the available evidence on the impact of the 2018 amendments. As a starting point, the government will consider how existing surveys can help with this. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) provides the best dataset available on the prevalence of cannabis use and can help determine any changes in this since November 2018. The ACMD may also find the survey on Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England useful, although fieldwork for the 2020 survey was postponed until autumn 2021 (academic year 2021/22) due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to help reduce the burden placed on schools. In relation to Part a) we agree that it is necessary for the government to consider what further research might help us better understand the effects of rescheduling CBPMs under the 2001 Regulations. The government will consider this and will continue to update the ACMD with progress. With regard to Part b) of the recommendation, like other medicines, it is the responsibility of manufacturers to produce evidence on safety, quality and efficacy and to put forward their products for scrutiny by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency before a marketing authorisation (licence) is granted. Despite calls from DHSC Ministers, the industry has largely failed to invest in clinical trials to establish the safety, quality and efficacy of their products. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS England are developing a programme of two randomised controlled trials into early-onset and genetic-generalised epilepsy. These will compare medicines that contain cannabidiol (CBD) only and that contain CBD plus delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with placebos. The results of this trial will answer the critical question of whether adding THC to CBD improves anti-epileptic properties. Once commercial discussions on the supply of products for the trial are complete the study team will be able to confirm further details and when recruitment to the trials will commence. The NIHR has issued two calls for research proposals alongside its highlight notice on medicinal cannabis and remain open to research proposals in this area as a priority. When prescribing an unlicensed medicine, it is the responsibility of the prescriber to be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of using the medicine to demonstrate its safety and efficacy. Recommendation 4 Government departments should conduct a full review of international approaches to legislation facilitating the medicinal usage of cannabis-based medicines. We agree that there is clear merit in understanding the approaches being used internationally. The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) also provides a vital opportunity to discuss policies and legislation in various countries around the world. Since the last CND event in April 2021, the Home Office has hosted a number of bilateral meetings to discuss various drug policy issues. Since the introduction of CBPMs under the 2001 Regulations, the approach used in various countries on the use of cannabis-based medicines has been widely discussed. If there are particular aspects of regulatory control of cannabis-based medicines that the ACMD would find helpful to explore further, such as those suggested in recommendation 3 a) of the ACMD’s report, my officials could arrange some more focused bilateral meetings with relevant countries. Review of the scheduling of products which currently fall under the definition of Cannabis- Based Products for Medicinal use (CBPMs) under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 Your letter of 27 November 2020 on the scheduling of CBPMs recommends that Schedule 2 of the 2001 Regulations remains appropriate for CBPMs, and that no further legislative amendments to the 2001 Regulations in relation to CBPMs are required at this point in time. I accept the council’s advice that Schedule 2 of the 2001 Regulations remains appropriate for CBPMs and that there is a range of unlicensed products falling under the definition of a CBPM, which have not have been tested for safety, quality and efficacy to the same degree as licensed cannabis-based medicines. Therefore, there is no current evidence to support the rescheduling of CBPMs as a whole to Schedules 3-5 in the 2001 Regulations. I would like to thank the council once again for its continued valued advice. I would like to also recognise the valuable input from Maggie Throup MP, Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, to this government response. Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-acmd-on-cbpms-in-humans/government-response-letter-to-the-acmd-on-cbpms-in-humans-accessible-version Bongme
  2. hi It’s high time that people caught with cannabis be spared jail, declare public The Telegraph Survey finds overwhelming support for community resolutions as a better deterrent to drug possession than prison time People caught with cannabis should be spared prosecution, says the public by a two-to-one majority, as they backed rehabilitation rather than punishment for drug possession. Of the 2,000 adults polled, 45 per cent backed out-of-court disposals for cannabis possession, such as community resolutions, which do not bring a criminal record. Only 25 per cent were against. There was a similar level of support for sparing shoplifters prosecution, with 43 per cent of those polled backing out-of-court settlements. Meanwhile, 29 per cent were against, according to the survey by crime consultancy Crest Advisory, which advises police forces, councils and police commissioners. Out-of-court disposals, largely made up of community resolutions, rose by nine per cent and now account for 16 per cent – or 164,000 – of all the 1.07 million offences prosecuted through the criminal justice system in the past year. Offenders handed community resolutions agree to say sorry face-to-face to those they have wronged and may be ordered to pay compensation or carry out a reparation. However, they avoid a criminal record as they are not taken to court and do not receive a police caution. Falling prosecutions Nearly two thirds of people, 66 per cent, support alternatives to prosecutions, such as cautions and community resolutions, to deal with low-level crimes and first-time offenders. However, the research – part of a year-long study funded by the Hadley Trust – found that there was a lack of public awareness about out-of-court disposals as well as scepticism as to their effectiveness, with many regarding them as “too soft”. Of more than 2,000 people who took part in the poll, 63 per cent said custody helped to cut crime and reduce reoffending, compared with only 38 per cent who thought cautions were effective. The Crest report said some out-of-court disposals involving rehabilitative diversion schemes were successful in cutting reoffending, but such programmes are not widely used, while too many other courses have not been properly evaluated. Among 19 recommendations, the report urged the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to set up a joint innovation fund to encourage police and crime commissioners, as well as chief constables, to establish diversion schemes tailored to the needs of offenders. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/19/high-time-people-caught-cannabis-spared-jail-declare-public/ Bongme
  3. hi Decriminalisation of cannabis possession needed to tackle disproportionate policing, says report The decriminalisation of cannabis possession offences is needed to mitigate disproportionate drugs policing and the ‘hyper criminalisation’ of ethic minorities, according to leading policy researchers. A new report from the drug reform charity Release (Regulating Right, Repairing Wrongs: Exploring Equity and Social Justice Initiatives within UK Cannabis Reform) has drawn attention to how the ‘skewed enforcement of drug laws has exacerbated racial profiling and the hyper-criminalisation of ethnic minority groups’, as well as ‘those who are socio-economically deprived, and of other disadvantaged groups’. Cannabis is currently categorized as a Class B controlled drug in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, meaning that it is illegal to possess, supply, or produce the substance. In their February 2021 review of disproportionate use of police powers, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services found that ‘the high prevalence’ of stop and searches ‘for possession of drugs rather than supply’ indicated that ‘efforts are not being effectively focused on force priorities’. The review also noted that the disproportionate enforcement of drug laws, ‘despite evidence that there is no correlation between ethnicity and drug use’, would have ‘far-reaching and long-lasting’ consequences, including leading to ‘more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people being drawn into the criminal justice system’. According to Release: ‘The harms produced by the prohibition of cannabis are primarily carceral – police stop and search, surveillance, criminalisation, incarceration – and are harmful to people whether or not they use cannabis.’ To combat the long-standing effects of these issues, Release has proposed that fourteen guiding social equity principles be integrated into the future legal cannabis market, a full list of which is available to view here. At the start of the year it was reported that the London mayor, Sadiq Khan were looking at rolling out further pilots based on a successful scheme from Thames Valley police which offered classes or counselling, rather than arrest, to under-25s caught with small quantities of cannabis. Release argue that criminal or civil sanctions for the use or the possession of cannabis, regardless of their legal or illegal origin, must be removed to ensure that those who are incarcerated because of punitive drug policies are not excluded from the legal market. Drawing on their evaluation of regulatory frameworks in countries such as North America and Canada, the paper argued that the‘legalisation of adult recreational cannabis use should not lead to a situation where youth, and disproportionately Black youth, are still stopped, searched, and arrested by the police for the possession of cannabis’. ‘Without protections for the use of cannabis in public (subject to the same protections for, and restrictions to, the smoking of tobacco in public), people who lack access to safe and private areas to smoke can still face police intervention and potentially harmful penalties, and it is likely to be disproportionately Black and other ethnic minority individuals who are arrested for public use.’ The group calls for the ‘automatic expungement’ of cannabis crimes as well as other historic offences to ensure that people have the adequate means by which they can ‘have the slate wiped clean’. Release notes a ‘growing consensus’ that tax generated through the legal cannabis market could be invested in communities that have been ‘overly criminalised, as well as in harm reduction and wider drug treatment initiatives’. ‘At present, the UK’s tax system does not naturally align itself with this type of revenue reinvestment, and the adoption of this principle would require adaptation(s) to our current system,’ Release says. ‘This is no reason to say that this should not be changed to accommodate reparations as a way to redress the harms caused by cannabis prohibition.’ ‘The legal renaissance of cannabis is a vital opportunity to address the harm that cannabis prohibition has caused to Black and Brown communities and to people with lived experience of cannabis policing,’ explained Dr. Laura Garius, Release’s policy lead and one of the report’s authors. ‘The UK Government’s new drug strategy regurgitated a “tough on drugs” rhetoric, despite the Home Office’s own research concluding that the estimated £1.6 billion spend per year on drug law enforcement is not impacting levels of drug use.’ ‘Change is inevitable – cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the UK and the world, and it is simply too lucrative a market for politicians to ignore’, notes Dr. Garius. ‘However, we must make sure that cannabis will be regulated right’. https://www.thejusticegap.com/decriminalisation-of-cannabis-possession-needed-to-tackle-disproportionate-policing-says-report/ Bongme
  4. hi Bradford council to trace fly-tipped cannabis farms with ‘smart water’ Landlords who illegally dump the remains of cannabis farms will be traced using “smart water” spray in what is thought to be one of the first trials of its kind in the UK. Council officials in Bradford said they were taking action after a rise in the number of cannabis farms that had been fly-tipped in streets, along streams and in country lanes. It is thought that landlords, rather than drug dealers, have been dumping the illegal waste following police raids. In a new approach to be approved by councillors on Tuesday, police officers will spray cannabis farms that have been shut down with so-called smart water so they can trace the drugs to a specific property if it is fly-tipped. The spray leaves an invisible marker on items or people so their movements can be more easily uncovered. It has been used by police in the UK to tackle domestic abuse and to ward off burglars. Officials at Bradford city council said they believed it was the first time such an approach had been used to tackle cannabis farm fly–tipping. They said in a report: “This is a new and innovative approach which we believe may not have been tried elsewhere in the country and clearly demonstrates the strength of the partnership between the council and the police to tackle environmental crime.” Environmental officers across the the UK have tried for years to tackle the dumping of illegal and harmful substances. Fly-tipping is a criminal offence under environmental laws and can be punished with unlimited fines or imprisonment of up to five years. The remains of cannabis farms are often dumped in rural locations under the cover of darkness, making it difficult to prosecute the culprits. Farmers and landowners often have to foot the bill to clear up the mess. In 2020, police surveyed more than 75 farmers and landowners in North Yorkshire about fly-tipping – 10 of whom reported having cannabis waste dumped on their land within the previous 12 months. One farmer said the remains of cannabis farms were being fly-tipped on their land every couple of months. In Bradford, bags have been found to contain dead cannabis plants, lamps, wiring and tubs of fertiliser. The council report, which is due to be discussed by its regeneration and environment scrutiny committee on Tuesday, said it collected 4,882 tonnes of fly-tipped waste and litter in the year from April 2020. Referring to cannabis, it added: “Over recent months, there have been a number of fly-tipping incidents that have involved cannabis farm waste.” https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jan/10/bradford-council-to-trace-fly-tipped-cannabis-farms-smart-water Bongme
  5. hi the Spectator Why legalising cannabis is safer than decriminalising it hate weed. Week after week, I see the tragic effects of this substance and how it destroys the minds of the young. I work on a mental health ward which, like many around the country, is home to some of the victims of our current lackadaisical attitude towards cannabis. This drug is particularly dangerous to the developing brains of young people and yet we know that this age group are the most likely to be experimenting with it. Despite protestations from the powerful pro--cannabis lobby, it has been proved beyond doubt that cannabis use is associated with depression, anxiety, psychosis and avolition (poor motivation). A third of psychosis cases in London are the result of smoking skunk, according to extensive research conducted by Sir Robin Murray, a professor of Psychiatric Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and an expert in drug-induced psychosis. Another study by Oxford University has shown that weed increases the risk of depression in teenagers by 40 per cent. These studies join hundreds of others which show that, far from being the harmless, benign substance campaigners would have us believe, cannabis is a dangerous, damaging intoxicant that has a profound effect on the structure and function of the brain. Despite all this evidence, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is planning a radical new approach to drugs in the coming months. Instead of prosecution, under-25s in certain boroughs will be offered courses on drug use. He is, in effect, decriminalising cannabis in the capital. In many ways, weed already is decriminalised: London’s streets are filled with its pungent stench. But Khan’s approach is an enormous gamble with the mental health of the capital. Data from our European neighbours offers more insight into the potential pitfalls of this type of policy. Portugal has seen a huge surge in cannabis--induced psychosis since it decriminalised the drug in 2001. The more people who use the drug, the more lives will be ruined by it. But there are other harmful substances — tobacco and alcohol, for example — that are legal and readily available, so is that enough of an argument to ban people from using it? It is a bitter irony that just as society becomes more understanding about mental illness, a drug which is directly responsible for destroying people’s minds is being allowed to become so widespread. Particularly frustrating are the smug, ageing, liberal hippies who claim that, because they’re still here, it must be fine. They look back on their youth spent smoking spliffs with a misplaced nostalgia, entirely failing to realise that not only did plenty of people not make it through unscathed, but also that the cannabis available on the streets today is an entirely different product to what it once was. Super-strong skunk now dominates the market. Khan’s policy is the worst possible way of dealing with this situation. The issue isn’t really the drug itself, but there should only be two options for dealing with it: enforce the law or make the drug legal. Sitting on the fence, as Khan’s policy does, should never be countenanced. If we have lost the war on cannabis, rather than turning a blind eye to its use, we must make it legal, regulate and control it. If Khan is so pro-cannabis, he should lobby the government to legalise it, rather than usher in decriminalisation by the backdoor. By not enforcing the law properly, Khan risks sending a dangerous signal to criminals that the law doesn’t matter and is there to be broken. Youngsters will assume that the lax attitude means that weed is relatively safe. If cannabis is decriminalised, there will be no age restrictions on who can use it. Dealerswill proliferate, the drug will become even more popular, and there will be little any of us can do about it. Compare this with our approach to alcohol or tobacco, which is legalised and therefore has an age limit. If Khan’s policy is brought in, there would be more control on who can buy cigarette papers than cannabis. It is a mad approach. What’s more, his policy would mean endorsing an economy that wreaks utter misery on the poorest, most disenfranchised communities. Criminal gangs will see revenues soar, and other activities related to the cannabis trade will proliferate: gun and knife crime, prostitution, gang violence and people smuggling. Sadiq Khan stands up and announces that black lives matter, yet without any hint of irony pushes through a policy that will encourage a market directly responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths of young black men. Parents gallantly trying to steer their children away from cannabis will be entirely unsupported by the criminal justice system. At least if Khan was calling for legalisation, the type of cannabis being sold could be monitored. The level of potency would be kept in check better, regulations could be placed on its sale and controls enforced around who sells it. I have spent years working in drug services and have always felt that these substances were dangerous and should be illegal. But in recent years, my view has changed slightly. Decriminalisation only makes matters worse. We haven’t lost the war on drugs, because we never really fought it. We have criminalised the addicts, failing to see that their problems are often a response to trauma, dispossession or mental illness. At the same time, we have failed to crack down on the criminals who ensure a ready supply of drugs. Britain has always had a rather mimsy approach to drug use compared with countries such as Singapore. But I don’t want to live in a country like Singapore. I have come to accept that there’s something about human beings that means we seek out intoxicants. We also create markets to meet our urges. When alcohol was illegal, it didn’t stop its use; instead, liquor became increasingly strong and criminal networks flourished. When it was legalised, limits could be put in place, and the criminal networks vanished. Drug use, much like drinking, is here to stay. It would make much more sense to allow certain drugs to be legalised properly. Let’s legalise cannabis, tax it, place restrictions around its sale and add a mental health levy to directly fund treatment for drug-induced psychosis. It pains me to suggest such an idea, but I can’t see another way. Written byMax Pemberton Max Pemberton is a Daily Mail columnist. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-legalising-cannabis-is-safer-than-decriminalising-it Bongme
  6. Hi Cannabis: Steve Moore on the problems that arise from the legalisation of cannabis Jon Smith discusses the benefits and legalisation of cannabis Cannabis: Drug causes up to a third of psychosis cases in London says report, expert reacts Bongme
  7. hi HIGHER POWER ‘Weed nuns’ praise study that claims cannabis may help fight Covid and say science is ‘catching up with ancient wisdom’ THE Sisters of the Valley, a group of self-ordained "weed nuns," have rejoiced over the findings of a new study that suggests cannabis may help prevent infections of Covid-19. Sister Kate, the founder of the non-religious radical feminist sect, expressed delight to The Sun over the results of the study - conducted by researchers at Oregon State University - suggesting that the field of science is finally "catching up" to age-old teachings. "We are, naturally, pleased that science is catching up with ancient wisdom," Sister Kate declared in a written statement. "It's wonderful progress to have the scientific community say 'we're already determined that there are compounds in hemp that can prevent infection', so now, we can just get on to studying dosage. "That's progress," she added. "Seems like Covid has helped end the debate." The Sister of the Valley are based in Northern California's Merced County and grow and harvest their own cannabis plants to create holistic medicinal products. Sister Kate's remarks come in the wake of a study published by scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) in the Journal of Natural Products earlier this week. The peer-reviewed study found that two cannabis acidic compounds commonly found in hemp can prevent infection of Covid-19 by blocking its entry into human cells. A HIGHER POWER? The compounds, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), can reportedly bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. By binding to the spike protein, the compounds can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection - and, as a result, offer new potential avenues to help prevent and treat the disease. The lead author of the study Dr. Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, said in a statement: "These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts. "They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans." Van Breemen added that, in addition to proving effective against the alpha and beta variants of Covid, CBDA and CBGA also were successful in blocking other coronavirus strains too, including the Delta variant and highly-contagiosus Omicron. "Our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa," van Breemen added. The spike protein CBGA and CBDA binds is the same part of the virus targeted by coronavirus vaccines and antibody therapies. In addition to that protein, SARS-CoV-2 has three more structural proteins and 16 non-structural proteins that van Breemen said should be considered potential targets for any future drugs developed to prevent Covid. “Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” van Breeman said. “That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.” OMICRON AND DELTA BEWARE While further research is still needed, van Breemen voiced optimism that his study shows that CBDA and CBGA could be developed into drugs to prevent or treat coronavirus. “These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” van Breemen explained. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. "However, they are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products.” The researched further reiterated the significance of the discovery that the cannabinoids appeared effective against new variants of the virus. Van Breeman added: "These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen. "Our data shows CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants. "Resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of cannabinoids but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should make for a much more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2.” Van Breemen's endorsement of cannabis as a promising tool to prevent Covid-19 infections was music to the ears of Sister Kate, who for years has been preaching the healing powers of marijunana and CBD. Her California-based sect, The Sisters of the Valley, grow and harvest their own cannabis plants to create holistic medicinal products, such as cannabidiol (CBD) salves, tinctures, balms, and soaps which they sell online. They use a strain of marijuana that eliminates the psychoactive compound of THC, but still contains CBD, which has been touted to help treat everything from epilepsy to cancer and addiction. THE SISTERS OF THE VALLEY Sister Kate, real name Christine Meeusen, started the business with only 12 plants but has since grown the organization into an international outfit that was, until the pandemic, turning profits of more than $1.1million. Despite the groups moniker, Sister Kate told The Sun in a previous interview that the Sisters of the Valley are in no way affiliated with the Catholic Church. "We do things that are spiritual but none of us are associated with any religion specifically," she explained. "Religions sell words but we want to do much more than that." Sister Kate added that the Sisters of the Valley are striving to revive spiritual practices that "put Mother Earth at the center of everything." "So we created something that is nonreligious, but it's spiritual – and it's very eco-feminist in nature. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17333311/weed-nuns-rejoince-weed-study-covid-treatment/ vid on link and photos Bongme
  8. hi Expert panel issues ‘weak’ recommendation for use of medical cannabis for chronic pain The official journal of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society A BMJ rapid recommendation for medical cannabis to be used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic pain in adults and children has been labelled 'weak', owing to a close balance of harms and benefits. An international expert panel has issued a “weak” recommendation to offer a trial of non-inhaled medical cannabis, or cannabinoids, for people with chronic pain, if standard care is not sufficient. The BMJ rapid recommendation, published on 9 September 2021, applies to adults and children living with moderate-to-severe chronic pain, regardless of pain mechanism, including cancer-related chronic pain. It aims to address the confusion around the role of medical cannabis in the management of chronic pain. The recommendation includes a linked series of four systematic reviews summarising the current body of evidence, as well as patient values and preferences, regarding medical cannabis or cannabinoid for chronic pain. In its review, the guideline panel said that it was “confident” that non-inhaled medical cannabis or cannabinoids resulted in a “small” increase in the proportion of people living with chronic pain experiencing an “important” improvement in pain and sleep quality; and a “very small” increase in the proportion experiencing an improvement in physical function. They said that the treatment did not improve emotional function and could result in a “small to very small increase” in the proportion of people experiencing cognitive impairment, vomiting, drowsiness, and a “moderate increase” in the proportion experiencing dizziness. The panel also said they were “less confident” about whether use of medical cannabis or cannabinoids result in reduced use of opioids or increased risk of cannabis dependence. They added that the recommendation was “weak” because of the close balance between benefits and harms of medical cannabis for chronic pain. “It reflects a high value placed on small to very small improvements in self-reported pain intensity, physical functioning and sleep quality, and willingness to accept a small to modest risk of mostly self-limited and transient harms,” the guideline panel said, adding that shared decision making was required to ensure patients made choices that reflect their values and personal context. “Further research is warranted and may alter this recommendation,” they continued. Andrew Yates, pharmacy lead at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, said the “important recommendation” was “greatly welcomed” by the organisation. “It represents a number of important firsts: it’s the first recommendation related to CBMPs [cannabis-based medicinal products] that treat chronic pain as one condition regardless of cause, it’s the first recommendation that has taken account of patient values and preferences so often forgotten about, and it’s the first recommendation that is easily translated into existing UK guidance for using non-inhaled formulations, and only after other therapies have been deemed unsuitable for the use of CBMPs. “We hope that this new recommendation is reviewed rapidly by NICE [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] who currently do not recommend the use of CBMPs, as currently only patients who are able to pay privately for their medicine will benefit from this recommendation which will result in a two-tier system when it comes to access to cannabis medicines here in the UK.” The NICE clinical guideline on cannabis-based medicinal products does not currently recommend their use for chronic pain. A spokesperson for NICE said the rapid recommendation “does, however, acknowledge the need for more research to build the evidence base for the use of these medicines, and supports NHS England’s call to collect evidence from both randomised controlled trials and observational studies”. The rapid recommendation states that therapeutic trials should start with low-dose non-inhaled cannabidiol products, gradually increasing the dose and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level depending on clinical response and tolerability. https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/news/expert-panel-issues-weak-recommendation-for-use-of-medical-cannabis-for-chronic-pain Bongme
  9. Grass on your dinner party guests if they smoke cannabis, says Kit Malthouse Dinner party guests should call police if they spot fellow revellers smoking cannabis at Christmas gatherings, the policing minister has said. Kit Malthouse said that anyone who witnessed the law being broken at festive season get-togethers should report it, even if it was just a guest lighting a joint. His comments came as the Government formally unveiled its 10 year drug strategy that aims to drive addicts into treatment services and stem the demand by cracking down on middle-class drug users. A senior minister today urged dinner party guests to call the cops on fellow revellers if they spot them smoking cannabis at Christmas gatherings. Mr Malthouse told LBC he had never been to a dinner party where drugs had been taken, but would have reported it if he had. Asked what people should do if they saw someone getting out a cannabis joint, he replied: “Well, my advice to anybody who witnesses the law being broken is to report it to the police.” Boris Johnson had earlier warned middle class drug users he would not sit “idly by” and let them fund crime as he unveiled a £300 million, three year drive to “wipe out” county lines gangs. The Prime Minister warned recreational users face being stripped of their passports and driving licences under the new curbs, as he joined police on a dawn raid. Mr Malthouse also said drug dogs should be deployed in wealthy areas to catch middle class cocaine users whose habits fuel violent crime. Kit Malthouse said he wanted police to broaden the geographical spread of their action against drug users so that “rich stockbrokers” are targeted in the same way as “a kid in Brixton or Hackney” for taking illicit substances. He added that he also wanted police to start identifying the customers of drug dealers by investigating the numbers on seized phones. This would mean that action, ranging from educational courses to potential prosecution, could be taken against them. Ministers believe half of all shop thefts, burglaries and robberies in the UK are committed by 300,000 heroin and cocaine addicts, who will receive rehabilitation and medical treatment under the strategy. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/12/06/report-dinner-party-guests-police-see-smoke-cannabis-says-kit/
  10. Met Police’s top drug cop faces gross misconduct hearing after ‘smoking cannabis’ A POLICE chief who devised his force’s drugs strategy is to face a gross misconduct hearing over claims he smoked pot. Cdr Julian Bennett, of London’s Met, is accused of using controlled drugs off duty between February 2019 and July 2020. It is also claimed that he refused to provide a sample and offered a “bogus explanation” for being unable to do so. Cdr Bennett, who has 44 years’ police service, said later that he used cannabis only for medical reasons, it is understood. The £136,000-a-year officer, in his 60s, has been suspended on full pay since July last year pending the probe by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards. He will answer three counts of discreditable conduct next February. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/16970581/met-police-chief-cannabis-hearing/
  11. Long Covid sufferers using medical cannabis to ease symptoms with demand on the rise More than two million people are thought to be battling long Covid symptoms which can include a shortness of breath, tiredness, difficulty sleeping and joint pain People suffering from long Covid are finding medical cannabis can ease their debilitating symptoms, the People can reveal. And services allowed to prescribe the drug say demand is on the rise. Medical cannabis was made legal in the UK three years ago. Under MHRA guidelines, it can only be prescribed by a specialist when other licensed treatments for a condition are proven not to have worked or are unsuitable. As long Covid is a new disease, sufferers are unlikely to meet this criteria yet. But pain consultant Dr Jean Gerard Sinovich, medical director at Cannabis Access Clinics, said enquiries for long Covid treatment were on the rise. The online prescriber has heard from 65 long Covid sufferers in four months. Sharron Brothwell is among those with long Covid who claim medical cannabis eased symptoms. The mum-of-three, of Blackpool, Lancs, was prescribed the drug to treat chronic fibromyalgia. After contracting Covid in March 2020 she became reliant on inhalers – but says she no longer needs them thanks to her £380-a-month cannabis prescription from Sapphire Medical Clinics. Sharron said: “I constantly felt like I had jet lag. That has all changed now. The other day I was able to take my dog out on my own to the park for a ten-minute walk there and back which I never could have done a few months ago. It is amazing.” Another patient, a grandfather aged 50 from Flintshire, Wales, was prescribed the drug 15 months ago by Cannabis Access Clinics for arthritis. He upped his dose after a bout of Covid in September left him with long-term breathlessness and fatigue. He said: “I was wrecked, absolutely drained. But I found that using my vaporiser more frequently helped open my airways and reduced muscle pain.” More than two million people in the UK are thought to be battling long Covid, in which symptoms persist at least four weeks after the initial virus. Dr Sinovich said: “I’ve seen patients who have long Covid and seen improvements in sleep and fatigue levels. “There’s scope to use this as an extra armour if we want to treat long Covid. It is exciting.” Dr Simon Erridge, Sapphire’s head of research and access, said there was “no evidence that can directly suggest medical cannabis is better for long Covid symptoms.” But he added: “Lots with long covid have muscular aches and pains, abdominal pain, neuropathic pain. We’ve seen positive effects with medical cannabis in these conditions.” He expects to see further research into long Covid and the role medical cannabis can play. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/long-covid-sufferers-using-medical-25563032
  12. Hello All, I was wondering if someone can enlighten me, as to what is going on with the Green. Someone gave me some stardawg to test for them, and I stuck it under the microscope to check for contaminates. As you will see in the pictures there seems to be some kind of fabric string, and possibly some hair. but i'am more concerned with the black marks, which kind of look like aphids, but there not. I was also wondering if the plant had been sprayed, because if you look on one of the pictures with string/hair it looks like some form of drop stuck to the string/hair. What do you people think?
  13. hi vid on link Warning UK faces 'worst research blackout in history' as Home Office falters on drug law TORY MP Crispin Blunt has blamed the Home Office for blocking a change to how an illegal hallucinogenic drug is tested as a new antidepressant. In an op-ed seen by Express.co.uk, Crispin Blunt MP describes how he urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change what is known as the "schedule" of the drug psilocybin. This change would mean it would be easier to run trials on its use in mental health treatments. The Prime Minister had already approved the rescheduling of psilocybin for exploring its potential as a treatment for depression, which he informed Mr Blunt in a meeting in May. Despite this, the Home Office “fails to act, perpetuating what can be considered the worst research blackout in scientific history,” according to the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), of which Mr Blunt is chairman. Rescheduling, in this case, means that psilocybin would be easier to get hold of and test in scientific and medical trials. Psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, will still be a Class A drug for anyone looking to consume it. The group say that if the Home Office continues to drag their feet over making psilocybin easier to trial for medical purposes, there will be “dire consequences for the UK’s life sciences sector” and those who “stand to benefit” from new treatments. Mr Blunt used an analogy to describe the current situation of not looking at the uses of certain illegal drugs in treating mental health problems. He likened restrictions on cannabis and other currently illegal substances to “keeping an offender whose risk of future offending is close to zero, is desperate and able to become a contributing positive member of society". He said: “Some sensible supportive probation supervision might be appropriate, but instead they are locked up in a maximum-security prison at vast expense indefinitely.” “In the 110 days that have passed since the PM’s sign off nearly 2,000 people have taken their own lives; the majority probably preventable when this research is translated into treatment.” A Home Office spokesperson said: “There is an established process for the development of medicines, which enables medicines including psilocybin to be developed, evaluated in clinical trials and licensed based on an assessment of their quality, safety and efficacy. “The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is currently considering barriers to legitimate research with controlled drugs. The first part of their review was published in July and the second part of the work is now underway. We will carefully consider any recommendations or advice they provide. “We currently have no plans to reschedule psilocybin under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.” Psilocybin has been the subject of numerous clinical trials in addressing mental health conditions against which currently-available medication has had little effect. Dr Robin Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London have found that psilocybin could target areas of the brain which current antidepressants cannot touch. However, the CDPRG argues that the brain drain coming from professionals and experts in the space leaving for other countries with different drug policies will put the UK further behind on pioneering new treatments. The CDPRG add that a change in policy on psilocybin could pave the way for exploring how other drugs, like LSD or MDMA, can be used to treat mental health conditions. Currently, psilocybin cannot be produced, supplied or prescribed without Home Office sign-off. Yet recent data from YouGov shows that over half of the UK public support a change in the law which would mean psilocybin is more easily accessible for treatment trials. A Home Office spokesperson said: “There is an established process for the development of medicines, which enables medicines including psilocybin to be developed, evaluated in clinical trials and licensed based on an assessment of their quality, safety and efficacy. “The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is currently considering barriers to legitimate research with controlled drugs. The first part of their review was published in July and the second part of the work is now underway. We will carefully consider any recommendations or advice they provide. “We currently have no plans to reschedule psilocybin under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.” https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1493174/psilocybin-drug-law-UK-change-UK-science-research-warning-Crispin-Blunt Vid On Link Bongme
  14. hi Will London’s budding cannabis market turn the EU green with envy? One after the other, medical cannabis companies are listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and investors are piling in cash, keen to be early investors in what they hope will become a major industry in the UK. It is an exciting time for the medicinal cannabis industry. In September, City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) allowed medicinal cannabis companies to list on the LSE, opening up the UK market to a growing sector already popular in North America. The regulator’s green light led to a flurry of activity. Just this month two medical cannabis companies made their UK stock market debut; MGC Pharmaceuticals and Kanabo Group. Each have enjoyed profitable market opens, with stock prices soaring 232 and 116 per cent respectively since listing on the exchange. Read more: Medical cannabis company Kanabo enjoys supherb first day as listed company While London opens up to a buzzing new sector, across the pond the new Biden administration is pro-cannabis, and wants to make the use of medical cannabis legal at a federal level, rather than at individual state level, in a move that would open the market to millions more consumers. For Avihu Tamir, the CEO of Israel-based Kanabo Group, it was the perceived prestige of London’s market that pulled Kanabo to the UK – and the buzz that inevitably came from being one of the first in a sector to list in a new market. He believes London has the potential to become Europe’s leading player in the industry. “[The listing] has proved that the investor community is interested in medical cannabis,” said Tamir, “and that means that there is a place for more companies, and bigger picture, there’s an chance for government and decision makers to take advantage. To them I would say ‘don’t waste the opportunity’.” Read more: NBA star Chris Webber partners with asset manager to launch $100m cannabis impact fund Tamir said Europe had no obvious leader in medical cannabis, and taking up such a position would provide a “huge opportunity” to the UK. Post-Brexit, Britain is seeking a new identity away from the European Union, and cannabis could be key. With the UK saddled with debt from Covid-19, compounded still by challenges brought about by Brexit, Tamir thinks the timing could help get the UK back on its feet. “The benefit of Brexit means you’re not tied to EU decision making, so the UK can move faster, and lead, and could see massive growth as a result,” he added. “Canada had a golden age because of cannabis. It created thousands of jobs, and at the same time it helped to solve problems like opioid addition. Across the board there’s huge potential here.” ‘Not if, but when’ The UK legalised medical cannabis in 2018, in a move that meant specialist doctors could prescribe cannabis-based products for medical use. The products can contain cannabidiol, known as CBD, as long as they only contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. The drug is often used to treat pain relief, epilepsy, insomnia, anxiety and PTSD, among other medical conditions. There is also research underway to look at how medicinal marijuana could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Despite the sector’s legalisation, the NHS is reluctant to prescribe medical cannabis, stunting the sector’s reach in the UK. According to Health Europa, by October 2020, two years after its legalisation, the NHS had prescribed just a handful of cannabis prescriptions. As a result, those in need of the drug have, on occasion, been forced to go private. Read more: Cannabis rally goes up in smoke as shares plummet Tamir thinks getting the NHS properly on board is a necessary step to medical cannabis becoming a major UK industry. “It’s not a discussion of if the cannabis industry is going to be big,” he continued, “now the question is, when is it going to happen? “If you’re conservative, you think we could be looking at five to 10 years until we see a really massive cannabis market. If you’re more optimistic, you understand that in two to three years we’re going to be at the tipping point. “We’re close, but we’re not there yet. Having cannabis companies on the LSE is a milestone, and the discussion is changing… We need cannabis to be proscribed by the NHS… I think that’s one of the limitations.” Despite the fever surrounding the burgeoning sector, investors are still limited on how they can take a slice of the pie. David Barfoot, director at Rize ETF, a company that offers investors access to a medical cannabis-focused fund, said compliance teams at large asset managers are still wary of the sector, as mistakenly investing in a medical cannabis company that also works with recreational cannabis elsewhere in the world would be a breach of law. “Due diligence on medical cannabis companies is capital and labour intensive,” he said. As a result, it was unlikely big name asset managers would be keen to start offering exposure to the sector through their funds in the short-term, forcing investors to invest via one of a small number of ETFs, or risk putting money into single cannabis stocks. “It’s early stage, it’s difficult to pick the winners and losers, because there’s not much competition yet, if you’re investing at an individual level, there’s a huge risk,” Barfoot added. For Kanabo’s Avihu Tamir, the problem for asset managers is that the market cap of recently listed medical marijuana companies in the UK is too small for them to take notice: “Almost all the big institutions were interested enough to take our call, but the issue wasn’t the cannabis, it was the size of our market cap, which was the time was around £23m, when institutional investors tend to need a market cap of £100m,” he said. “We had a few cases where managers invested in us personally, and I think that’s a statement as well, because obviously if a manager is interested enough in this personally, the fund will come at a later stage. Mentally [the cannabis] is no barrier anymore.” ‘The funds will follow’ Venture capitalist Ed McDermott invested in Kanabo. He is the co-founder of MF Life Sciences, the largest independent medicinal cannabis company in Europe, and CEO of Fast Forward, a Guernsey-based venture capital fund. He too is excited about the sector, and the prospect of London becoming something of a cannabis hub in the coming years. However McDermott cautioned against believing all cannabis companies would go on to be successful. “We have to be somewhat mindful here. [UK-listed medical cannabis companies] are trading at many hundreds of times their revenue, which is fundamentally not usual,” he said. “There has been a massive burst of excitement, and it’s warranted, but not all companies are created equal, and because they carry a cannabis title one should not immediately think they’re a good company.” He said investors should be paying attention to the fundamentals of a company, like scale and the number of core investors. The ventured capitalist predicted that by the end of the year anywhere between 15 and 20 listed companies would have a cannabis theme to them in the UK, but their market caps would vary wildly, with anything from single digit millions to potentially over one billion on the table. “It’s going to be an interesting year ahead,” he continued. “I hope London becomes a destination for the cannabis market, but the key is making sure good companies come to the market, and we back those that are going to be the best operators.” https://www.cityam.com/will-londons-budding-cannabis-market-turn-the-eu-green-with-envy/ Bongme
  15. hi Cannabis organisations unite to demand robust cannabis industry in the UK The Cannabis Industry Council is the first truly representative cannabis body dedicated to advancing the UK’s cannabis sector The legal cannabis market has been estimated to be worth up to $124 billion by 2028. Accordingly, there is undeniable potential for Britain's medical cannabis businesses to cash in on this ‘green rush' and ready themselves for what appears to be a bright future. However, the industry is yet to capitalize on the huge opportunities presented to it. Despite striving for a shared goal - improving access to medical cannabis - the efforts of organisations and individuals within the industry have lacked coordination and collaboration. This fragmented approach has prevented the industry from being perceived as truly legitimate and subsequently, it is yet to receive the political endorsement it so desperately needs. However, in May of this year, the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) was launched to set standards and drive meaningful change within the UK's medical cannabis and CBD sector. It marks the first time the growing sector has unified through a truly representative and homogenous cannabis industry body. The Council's launch follows renewed calls for the government to reduce the red tape hampering the cannabis industry. According to a report launched by Maple Tree and Mackrell Solicitors last month, the medical cannabis market could be worth £2 billion, create almost 100,000 jobs and transform patient access if the government amended its outdated laws and regulations on the sector. At present, the new organisation has over one hundred members, who have worked beyond their individual organisational aims and collaborated to define and maintain gold standard industry practice. With six sub-groups, Quality Standards, Parliamentary lobbying, Research, Environmental & Social Responsibility, Media and Hemp, the CIC is calling for patients - adults and children - to be better supported by the sector and for the government to reduce the red tape currently restricting the growth of the industry. From clinics, patient access groups and doctors, to insurers, licensed producers and cannabis infrastructure bodies, the Council brings together disparate organisations, businesses and working groups. Membership invitation has been extended to representatives from the Home Office, The Department of Health and NHS England, in the hope of strengthening ties between the cannabis industry and the UK public sector. As a step towards achieving this ambition, one of the Council's first acts will be to organise a round table conversation. Leading public and private bodies across the UK will be invited to discuss how the UK can develop a robust cannabis industry, which drastically improves patient access and stimulates the economy post pandemic. Initially, the CIC will be chaired by Professor Mike Barnes, with formal elections and organisational subgroup Chairs to be appointed. Commenting on the issues facing the industry, Professor Barnes said that "Despite having a reputation as a globally dominant medicinal cannabis producer, the UK is almost entirely unable to cater to the needs of domestic patients. As it stands, there are numerous restrictions on full medical access due to unclear governmental bureaucracy, a lack of medical education and restrictive guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and other regulatory bodies. With the participation of the government, NHS and Home Office, the Cannabis Industry Council hopes to set a gold standard practice on how the sector should operate. He added: "Having signed up a large proportion of the industry, we hope to be taken incredibly seriously as a collective voice and trusted gateway for, and by, the sector." Kate Thorpe, Coordinator of the Cannabis Industry Council, said: "Collaboration and harmony is a crucial component for the advancement of any sector, and this is nowhere truer than in the cannabis space. Only by harnessing the greatest breadth of expertise and by offering all organisations within the industry a voice, can we generate real change." It must not be forgotten that at the industry's roots are very unwell adults and children who, even after being lucky enough to receive a medicinal cannabis prescription, face high costs and long waiting times. Sadly, their voices are often lost within other industry bodies, so the Council will give patients, businesses and public bodies an equal say. By asserting pressure on government to act now and act fast, the Council's efforts may finally bring about lasting change in an industry which so many depend upon. For decades, patients have faced significant barriers to access and now, at last, they have reason to believe that their struggle is coming to an end. The CIC is spearheading the revolution in the UK medical cannabis industry and its members are committed to fulfilling its mission. http://www.newbusiness.co.uk/articles/trainingeducation/cannabis-organisations-unite-demand-robust-cannabis-industry-uk Bongme
  16. hi Stardawg Is the Weed Dividing the UK's Smokers “When you open up that bag, you take a smell and it makes your eyes bulge out.” England’s weed smokers don’t have a whole lot of choice. Unless you’ve got a Bitcoin wallet and a dark web market link, chances are you’ll end up buying Stardawg at some point. The strain is one of the country’s most common, alongside Cheese and Amnesia, but it’s only Stardawg that aggressively splits opinions. There are those who’d pick it over any other bag, and those who’d dump their dealer over it. On the r/uktrees subreddit, some argue that it “got a nation through a pandemic”, while others complain it’s “wet and chemically”, or “the only strain” that makes them paranoid. According to its creator, JJ from Top Dawg seeds in the US, the strain was never supposed to become this inescapable. “When I created it, I really wasn’t looking to create something to the extent of what it is today,” he says over Zoom. Over the past few years, JJ has watched his strain grow in popularity in the UK. “I get a lot of messages from people from the UK asking for seeds,” he says. “It's an honour. If people think that Stardawg is highly regarded, or that it’s a symbol for quality, then I’ve got to be happy about it.” “The genetics were good enough that people took notice,” says JJ. Named after “Stardog Champion” by the American band Mother Love Bone – “I had to come up with some kind of ‘dawg’ name, so it just clicked for me” – Stardawg seeds worked their way into the hands of staff at High Times, the cannabis magazine. Soon enough, people in California took notice and started growing the strain too. As for how it came to the UK? “I’m not sure of the story,” says JJ. “There’s this famous Manny Stardawg that I always hear about.” “There’s several rumours, but it seems that someone in Manchester got ahead of the game,” says Simpa, a drug reform advocate. “What became known as the Manny cut was probably on the scene a couple of years before anybody else had commercial access to it.” Along with the strain’s high yield and its rarity at the time, Stardawg was seen as exotic, and smokers who wanted to be the first to try the newest strains in the UK – Simpa refers to them as “flava chasers” – quickly made Stardawg the strain you had to be seen smoking. “As soon as people start seeing a popular strain name, they'll start just copying it,” he says, explaining that half of what’s sold as Stardawg isn’t the real thing. “They're just trading off the brand in the same way that people copy Adidas or Gucci. The product is inferior, but they’re trading on the illusion of the label.” If you’re trying to identify the real thing, JJ and Simpa both say the smell is the biggest giveaway. “It’s very strong,” says JJ. “It's very gassy, and when you open up the bag you’re going to smell a gassy, chemmy, diesel, kind of pine-y smell.” Whether Stardawg’s hold on the UK will last is down to “mothers” – the plants needed to make clones – but Simpa thinks its chances are strong, unlike other strains in that have been popular in the UK, like Blue Cheese. “With the original Blue Cheese, enough raids happened that very few people were left with the mothers, so they weren’t getting out to the big industrial growers,” he explains. While JJ hopes to one day breed another strain with the same longevity as Stardawg, he doesn’t have a huge amount of control of the popularity of his plants. “A lot of these things take on a life of their own,” he says. “No matter where it comes from, or what name it has on it, it’s when you open up that bag, you take a smell it makes your eyes bulge out, and you're just like, ‘What is this?’” https://www.vice.com/en/article/4avekg/stardawg-weed-strain-uk Bongme
  17. This was brought to my attention by our new friend saber on another thred Grossly over the top I thought, but then I followed his link. http://www.schmoo.co.uk/soapcak.htm What does everyone think? Admin Guys, please could this one be pinned? It seems bloody serious to me!!
  18. Hi Police smash suspected Finnart Street cannabis farm 12 Dec 2014 A SUSPECTED drug ring is believed to have been smashed in Greenock after a massive cannabis farm said to be worth £130,000 was allegedly found inside a house in the town’s west end. Two Vietnamese nationals, understood to have links to London and Manchester, have been charged in connection with the discovery — as well as tampering with the electricity supply to the property. Police swooped on the house in Finnart Street on Tuesday afternoon after being alerted to a suspected illegal ‘cultivation’. More than 350 plants, understood to be cannabis, were recovered from the property by a team of officers amid fears that the alleged illicit activity could have sparked a life-threatening fire. Suspect Bang Van Hoang, 60, and his female co-accused Ngo Thi Loan, 56, yesterday made no plea or declaration to the charges against them during a brief petition hearing in private at Greenock Sheriff Court. The pair — represented by defence lawyers Aidan Gallagher and David Tod — are charged with producing cannabis at the Finnart Street address. They are further accused of tampering with the electricity supply to prevent a meter from registering the level of energy being used at the house. Sergeant Allan O’Hare, of Greenock Police, told the Telegraph: “At about 2.30pm on Tuesday 9 December police attended Finnart Street, Greenock, having received a report of a cannabis cultivation. “Police safely removed the cultivation from the property once the electricity had been made safe. “A 60-year old Vietnamese male and a 56 year-old Vietnamese female have appeared from custody at Greenock Sheriff Court in relation to the matter.” Sgt O’Hare added: “The manner in which the cultivation had been established posed a significant fire risk to the occupiers and neighbours. The safety of our community is paramount to Police Scotland.” Shocked residents told today how they had been smelling a ‘sweet’ odour coming from the suspected house for weeks. One local, who asked not to be named, said: “There was a lot of police activity at the house as officers were there all day Tuesday and Wednesday. “We heard that a cannabis farm was found. Funnily enough, there were very sweet smells coming from that place about four weeks ago and other people had mentioned it too.” Another resident said: “You never really saw the people who lived there as they never opened their windows or curtains.” Van Hoang, of no fixed abode, was remanded in custody by Sheriff Derek Hamilton. Thi Loan, of Joycebuttle House, Main Road, London, was granted bail. The case against them was continued for further examination and both are due to appear in court again next Thursday. Sergeant O’Hare has asked members of the public to report any suspicious activity or information on the supply of drugs by phoning 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/12/12/518876-police-smash-suspected-finnart-street-cannabis-farm-/ Bongme
  19. hi Police seize secret cannabis stash growing in Oldbury green space The illegal grow was found by Oldbury Police officers Police busted a secret cannabis farm that was disguised among wild shrubbery on greenbelt land in Oldbury. The bizzare discovery was made by the West Midlands Police on Friday, September 24. The plants were seized and destroyed. It is believed they had been placed there deliberately. The Oldbury Police team tweeted: "Think you can outwit us by making use of sheltered greenbelt? Wrong! Although these plants were growing in a wild area, it was obvious they had been planted deliberately. Now destroyed" In the UK, cannabis is categorised as a class B drug which will result in penalties for those found in possession, dealing or producing the substance. Police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90 if you’re found with cannabis. Being found in possession of class B drugs can result in up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Those convicted for supplying or production of class B drugs can face up to 14 years in prison. Anyone who believes a property in their area is being used to grow cannabis should contact the police. Tell-tale signs include a strong sweet smell, heat surges, high electricity bills and permanently shuttered or covered windows. https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-country/police-seize-secret-cannabis-stash-21669378 Bongme
  20. hi Exclusive: Public support for PR, debt cancellation, decriminalising cannabis UK adults support bold policy ideas going to Labour conference, including a switch to proportional representation for Westminster elections, debt cancellation and decriminalising cannabis, exclusive polling by Savanta ComRes for LabourList can reveal. 153 constituency Labour parties have called on Keir Starmer’s party to endorse a switch to proportional representation for UK general elections at conference this year – more than have made a single demand on any issue in recent conference history. There has been no sign so far that the leadership will adopt the PR policy. While it has solid support among local party delegates, the campaign faces difficulties on the conference floor as just four trade unions have explicitly committed to backing it. New polling by Savanta ComRes shows that 44% of UK adults back the switch to PR, with the rest saying they neither support nor oppose (25%), they oppose the policy (15%) or they do not know (15%). One of the key ‘green new deal’ motions being sent to conference this year is on “global climate justice”. It calls for the cancellation of all low-income country debt held by UK institutions and legislation to prevent UK courts prosecuting countries stopping debt payments. The Savanta polling results suggest this proposal has the support of the UK public. Asked about cancelling debts of poorer countries so they can better fund initiatives to aid climate change, 44% say they would support the move. As for the remaining 56% of adults, 25% say they neither support nor oppose, 21% oppose it somewhat or strongly, and 11% say they do not know. Among those who do know their view on the idea, over 49% support it and 23% oppose it. Another Momentum-endorsed motion advocates drug policy reform and urges Labour to support the “decriminalisation of the possession and use of drugs”, as well as legislation aimed at a regulated and publicly run drugs market. A total of 41% say they support decriminalising the possession and use of marijuana, while 29% oppose it. 43% are against decriminalising the possession and use of Class A drugs, however, and 27% back this move. The polling suggests there is also substantial support among UK adults for the ‘no recourse to public funds’ policy, which stops those subject to immigration control from accessing mainstream benefits and housing assistance. Labour called for NRPF to be suspended during the pandemic and has said the policy should not prevent victims of domestic abuse from getting the help they need. It has supported initiating a review of ‘NRPF’ and its impact on health inequalities. Below are the results of the latest polling by Savanta ComRes for LabourList. To what extent do you support or oppose each of the following policies? A proportional representation voting system for Westminster elections, whereby parties are assigned a number of seats based on the percentage of votes acquired nationally Strongly support – 19% Somewhat support – 25% Neither support nor oppose – 25% Somewhat oppose – 8% Strongly oppose – 8% Don’t know – 15% Sum: Support – 44% Sum: Oppose – 16% Cancelling debts of poorer countries so they can better fund initiatives to aid climate change Strongly support – 16% Somewhat support – 28% Neither support nor oppose – 25% Somewhat oppose – 11% Strongly oppose – 10% Don’t know – 11% Sum: Support – 44% Sum: Oppose – 21% The ‘no recourse to public funds’ policy, which stops those subject to immigration control from accessing a range of welfare benefits Strongly support – 24% Somewhat support – 22% Neither support nor oppose – 24% Somewhat oppose – 10% Strongly oppose – 7% Don’t know – 13% Sum: Support – 45% Sum: Oppose – 17% Decriminalising the possession and use of marijuana Strongly support – 18% Somewhat support – 23% Neither support nor oppose – 21% Somewhat oppose – 12% Strongly oppose – 17% Don’t know – 9% Sum: Support – 41% Sum: Oppose – 29% Decriminalising the possession and use of Class A drugs Strongly support – 12% Somewhat support – 15% Neither support nor oppose – 20% Somewhat oppose – 15% Strongly oppose – 28% Don’t know – 9% Sum: Support – 27% Sum: Oppose – 43% Polling by Savanta: ComRes for LabourList. Fieldwork conducted 17th-19th September 2021. Poll of 2,112 adults in the UK. https://labourlist.org/2021/09/exclusive-public-support-for-pr-debt-cancellation-decriminalising-cannabis/ Bongme
  21. hi Popular 'wonder crop' offers farmers hope for saving the planet Hemp has boomed in popularity in the UK with farmers praising the "wonder crop" - amid hopes it could help save the planet. A cannabis crop - known as hemp when it is grown for manufacturing - has surged in popularity in the past year in Scotland due to the boost it gives to other crop yields. Studies have shown it enhances pollinators such as bees, and the potential to be used for eco-friendly packaging which biodegrades. Hopes are high it could contribute to a homegrown UK CBD market - with most products brought in from Europe or America due to legislation. Kyle Esplin, 39, of the Scottish Hemp Association, believe cannabis will be legalised within two to five years due to the interest shown by pharmaceutical companies - and says the booming 'wellness' industry is likely to surge if that does happen. He first used CBD in 2013 after giving up his job as a cruise ship entertainment due to becoming ill the year before from a respiratory virus, and was motivated by the health benefits when he tried it in Holland. Nearly a decade later, Kyle has become a forerunner in the UK CBD industry and has his own firm, Holistic Highland Hemp. Kyle said: "You can't buy CBD extract in the UK, it's all coming from hemp fields in the US and Europe. "One of the main benefits of hemp is it removes carbon - it takes one season of hemp to remove the same amount as 25 years with trees. "It can be used in insulation, and the environmental benefits show it improves the yield for other crops." There are now seven hemp farmers in Angus, where Kyle is based, and another three in Aberdeen, while traditionally the main industry has been based in England. Studies in Colorado have shown new species of bees attracted to hemp, while in Poland bees exposed to hemp benefited from an improved lifespan. The species grown in the UK is a low THC variety - THC is the active ingredient which causes a high. It originates from Finland and is so hardy it can be grown in the Shetland Isles. Other crops grown by hemp farmers in Scotland include barley, wheat, blueberries, and as well as arable farming some producers also keep livestock. Kyle had planned to return to entertainment work last year but covid meant that never happened, and instead he invested his energy into the hemp industry. His tasks include liasing with Food Standards Scotland, as hemp is considered a 'new' crop and is subject to the Novel Foods Process required of things not common before 1997. Kyle believes the stigma around the cannabis leaf needs to end, and said it is a resource which has barely been tapped into in the UK. He said in the 1930s and 1940s it was branded a "wonder crop" and was a commonly used natural resource. Kyle said: "Back in the 30s and 40s it was advertised as a 'billion dollar wonder crop'. "It was used for rope and other products. "It is biodegradable so has a lot of potential for packaging. "With all the interest in COP26, hemp is one of the best crops for the environment. "In the last few years there's been more attention, thanks to CBD products. "It's brought the cannabis leaf design into people's kitchens. "There's the potential for a big wellness market." https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/popular-wonder-crop-offers-farmers-21643071 Bongme
  22. hi Number of cannabis farm busts almost double in one year during pandemic Police were called to a house fire which was found to be a cannabis farm this week The number of cannabis plants seized by the police has almost doubled in a year. At least 10,607 cannabis plants were seized by the police force in 2020, exclusive figures show. That was up from 5,517 plants seized the year before, according to the data obtained through a Freedom of Information request. While the total number of crimes recorded by police went down by 5 per cent last year, the number of drug offences - including possession, trafficking and other crimes such as production - went up from 4,152 to 5,084. This week, Leicestershire Police were called to the scene of a fire that ripped through a house in the Evington area of Leicester being used to grow cannabis. The blaze quickly caught the attention of the neighbours who alerted Leicestershire Fire and Rescue services. Police also attended and shortly after, acting on a tip-off, a second house in the same street was found with a 'large' number of cannabis plants inside. Neighbours living in the street looked on in 'shock' as the roof of the burning property caved in. One person who did not want to be named said: "It is quite unfortunate that something like this has happened in our street." According to UK Research and Innovation - a public body funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy - the lack of people moving around during lockdowns made it easier for police to track down dealers. Leicestershire Police recorded 168 offences specifically related to cannabis production in 2020 - up from 152 the previous year. National figures from the Home Office show that nationally, the number of possession of cannabis offences recorded by police was up from 113,663 in 2019/20 to 133,805 in 2020/21. The rise in recorded drug crimes has been driven by pandemic restrictions providing police with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to target dealers. National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Drugs, Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, said: "During lockdown, the reduction in overall crime levels allowed officers to be redirected towards more proactive policing to tackle organised crime groups involved in the cultivation and distribution of illegal and dangerous drugs. "We will continue to focus efforts on the criminals and organised gangs who are destroying lives and fuelling the violence we’re seeing on our streets. "Our tactics are already showing some success, with a 13% increase between March 2019 and March 2020 in the overall amount of cannabis seized by police." In a statement about the house fire in New Way Road, Evington on September 20, Leicestershire Police said that no arrests had been made but enquiries are ongoing. https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/number-cannabis-farm-busts-almost-5944406 Bongme
  23. hi Drug user who blew up flat while attempting to produce cannabis avoids jail David Hastie was badly injured during the explosion in his Hamilton property. A drug user blew up his Hamilton flat in a failed attempt to produce cannabis. David Hastie was badly injured in the explosion, which blew out windows and doors at the Craigburn Street property. Hastie, 39, narrowly avoided a prison sentence at Hamilton Sheriff Court today. He admitted culpably and recklessly attempting to produce tetrahydrocannabinol – a compound found in cannabis – on March 27, 2019. The charge stated that he was severely injured, his flat was damaged and there was potential danger to neighbours in the block of flats. Hastie was taken to hospital for treatment to burns after a butane gas cylinder exploded. The court heard that, fortunately,damage was confined to his property. Not guilty pleas to charges of possessing drugs, including cannabis and street valium, were accepted. Defence agent Jackson Bateman told the court: "My client suffered significant injuries in the explosion. He still has visible scars." Mr Bateman said it was accepted that Hastie had not been intending to produce cannabis for profit. He added: "His record is not the most serious and social workers suggest that, on a margin, there is a viable and credible alternative to custody available." Passing sentence, Sheriff Linda Nicolson told Hastie: "You put others in danger, but I accept you did not anticipate the extent of harm and damage that occurred. "You were the one who was seriously injured and you are still suffering. "Your previous convictions are not the most serious the court has seen. "The amount of cannabis involved was minimal and you were producing it for your own medicinal use. "In all the circumstances I'm just persuaded that a community-based disposal can be imposed." Hastie was placed under supervision for a year. He was also electronically tagged for nine months, meaning he must stay within his home between 7pm and 7am each day. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/in-your-area/lanarkshire/drug-user-who-blew-up-25027081 Bongme
  24. Hi This an article on crime it only a very small section of what she says BUT gives you the idea of where she stands on Cannabis! (maybe some media later may get a more enlightened response to this) Patel also voiced a tough stance on drugs, saying cannabis users should not be overlooked by police, the Press Association reports. “Any form of drug use,” she said. “You don’t turn a blind eye to it at all. It has a corrosive impact on people and communities.” The Lib Dems accused Patel of “rank hypocrisy” over the zero-tolerance approach, considering the series of admissions from senior Tory colleagues. rest of the interview here https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/priti-patel-death-penalty_uk_5d4594f0e4b0acb57fcd2cff Bongme
  25. hi DEBATE: Should we remove the word ‘cannabis’ from medical cannabis advocacy? The House of Commons debate last Monday was a fantastic display of support and solidarity for families, campaigners and advocates alike, all hoping to expand access to medical cannabis that remains almost entirely inaccessible on the NHS. Speakers from across the House offered emotional and impassioned pleas for intervention by Under Secretary for Health Jo Churchill, calling for: better education and direction for prescribing medical professionals in the NHS; the consideration of an observational study to alleviate the need for children suffering with refractory epilepsy to come off their medication as part of a placebo group; and temporary financial support for the seventeen families currently eligible. Interestingly, a sizable number of the speakers discussed the reputation of the term ‘medical cannabis’ and its language as a focal point of their time. Many MPs claimed the besmirched reputation of the word ‘cannabis’ actively impedes upon access, where doctors may be wary to prescribe due to its connotations. It would not be the first time advocates have concertedly shifted the terminology of cannabis. Burdened by its racial connotations, the Mexican term ‘marijuana’ was co-opted by prohibitionists in 1930’s America in order to manufacture an impression of the drug as ‘un-American’, and justify the over-policing of non-white groups’ possession and consumption of cannabis. While this blighted history is well-known in advocacy circles, the origins of the dissemination of this term remains hidden from the general public. The MPs’ speeches reflect the tendency of a fragmented movement to ‘break off’ from its predecessors burdened by history, as they advocated for the rehabilitation the reputation of medical cannabis. In practical terms, this might look like replacing ‘cannabis’ with ‘cannabinoid’, ‘hemp’, or referring to the specific compounds within cannabis-based medicines. This article will first look at the benefits of a rehabilitated image for cannabis, starting with its name. It will then turn its attention to the arguments against embracing new terminology for cannabis-based medicines both for cannabis users and people who use other drugs. The House of Commons debate last Monday was a fantastic display of support and solidarity for families, campaigners and advocates alike, all hoping to expand access to medical cannabis that remains almost entirely inaccessible on the NHS. Speakers from across the House offered emotional and impassioned pleas for intervention by Under Secretary for Health Jo Churchill, calling for: better education and direction for prescribing medical professionals in the NHS; the consideration of an observational study to alleviate the need for children suffering with refractory epilepsy to come off their medication as part of a placebo group; and temporary financial support for the seventeen families currently eligible. Interestingly, a sizable number of the speakers discussed the reputation of the term ‘medical cannabis’ and its language as a focal point of their time. Many MPs claimed the besmirched reputation of the word ‘cannabis’ actively impedes upon access, where doctors may be wary to prescribe due to its connotations. It would not be the first time advocates have concertedly shifted the terminology of cannabis. Burdened by its racial connotations, the Mexican term ‘marijuana’ was co-opted by prohibitionists in 1930’s America in order to manufacture an impression of the drug as ‘un-American’, and justify the over-policing of non-white groups’ possession and consumption of cannabis. While this blighted history is well-known in advocacy circles, the origins of the dissemination of this term remains hidden from the general public. Creative Commons license: Wellcome images The MPs’ speeches reflect the tendency of a fragmented movement to ‘break off’ from its predecessors burdened by history, as they advocated for the rehabilitation the reputation of medical cannabis. In practical terms, this might look like replacing ‘cannabis’ with ‘cannabinoid’, ‘hemp’, or referring to the specific compounds within cannabis-based medicines. This article will first look at the benefits of a rehabilitated image for cannabis, starting with its name. It will then turn its attention to the arguments against embracing new terminology for cannabis-based medicines both for cannabis users and people who use other drugs. THE CASE FOR Insurmountable fear & a clean slate. “In this House, we should not be using the word “cannabis”, because it strikes that fear into the hearts of many, many people across the UK.” Tonia Antoniazzi, Labour MP for Gower. “I think this problem might be to do with the terrible word “cannabis” that we use in this country. This is not anything to do with cannabis, really; I wish we could invent another name for it and just say “oil with TCHs in it”, because that would eradicate much of the fear that there is at present—and it is not just fear, it is dangerous to the argument.” Sir Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. For as long as we have seen representations of cannabis in the media and politics, it has been intrinsically connected with fear. The early 20th century saw the immediate categorisation of the drug by politicians, doctors and police as one with the capacity to morally corrupt the British people. This assumption was directly informed by racist and imperialist ideologies that connected the use of cannabis among immigrants and non-white residents with danger to upstanding communities. A moral panic was manufactured out of fear of a drug that had predominantly existed in countries which had been colonised by Britain. Cannabis and hashish was a perceived problem by the colonizers; thus, authorities sought to control it. This panic has persisted for over one hundred years, its malleable state allowing ‘cannabis’ to be a vehicle for suppressing the anti-war ‘hippy’ movement and racial equality movements in the US through fear-mongering. MPs in the Commons debate have aptly understood the crux of all issues pertaining to drug policy reform: decisions that engage first with fear, and then with reason. Jonathan Haidt’s’ The Righteous Mind’ uses the analogy of a rational Rider atop an intuitive Elephant, where the former is in control until the Elephant’s overpowered, primal instincts are alerted. If we eliminate the initial alarm- the instinctual and fearful aversion to ‘cannabis’- we can more readily appeal to our target (in this instance, medical practitioners). While the process of overcoming this initial and intuitive fear with heroin, cocaine, or recreational cannabis use may be a longer process, medical cannabis is not necessarily positioned in the same way. Already distinct due to the reforms in 2018 which created a legal pathway for access, medical cannabis is an unnecessary casualty in the War on Drugs and for this reason needs to be, above all else, uncontroversial. By separating medical cannabis from the term ‘cannabis’ and embracing an alternative, we might start to quell the instincts that encourage the reluctance to prescribe the life-saving medicines. It is an easier win than doing so for all drugs, so should we not take our victories and prioritise the wellbeing of suffering patients? While not explicitly mentioned in the debate, it is important to recognise that before 2018 much of the understanding around cannabis in primary care was tied to its alleged link with psychosis. If a GP was approached by a patient who was self medicating with cannabis for conditions such as anxiety and depression, their apprehension to support this would be understandable. Since its legalisation, however, revelations of the ability of cannabis-based medicine to effectively manage symptoms in a variety of mental health conditions have emerged. It could take years to re-inform and shift medical opinions on cannabis-based medicines, especially where patients are either children, or have a mental health condition. But if a new term free from the drug’s loaded history and preconceived understandings was popularised, it could help accelerate this necessary shift. Ultimately, increasing patient access has the potential to drastically improve patient outcomes and reduce harms, the cornerstone of medical intervention and care. A line in the sand. “[…] the crucial thing about when the law was changed was that it was about the prescribed medical use of cannabis oil by a specialist consultant, not a GP. It was not about a spliff behind the bike sheds or anything like that; it was prescribed medical use that saved children’s lives.” Sir Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. “Does she [Christine Jardine MP] share my frustration—I am sure she does—that the debate around medicinal cannabis is often confused with people who just want to smoke dope and drop out? “ Adam Afriyie, Conservative MP for Windsor. “If we continue to talk about medicinal “cannabis”, stigma will continue to attach to the part that gives a hallucinogenic effect. That is the part that everyone will focus on unless we start to change the direction, the language and the naming, which is why the medical profession is blackballing it on every occasion.” Paul Girvan, DUP MP for South Antrim. Another crucial argument in favour of changing the way we talk about medical cannabis is in pursuit of the separation between medical and recreational cannabis use. It is true that the reputation of medical cannabis users have been conflated with those of recreational.. Since the inception of the Misuse of Drugs Act, cannabis has been presented as equally dangerous as heroin and cocaine for both the individual and society. Cannabis use and users attracted multitudes of misinformation and inflammatory headlines. The criminalisation, and ultimately stigmatisation, of those who use cannabis continues to underpin medical opinions and understanding of the harms and risks associated with prescribing cannabis as a medical treatment. The risks of being associated with recreational cannabis may limit a doctor’s confidence in advising, and supporting patients who are trying to obtain cannabis medicine, and prevents them from accepting cannabis-based medicines as legitimate treatment pathways. . If the Rt. Hon. Paul Girvan is right, and the continued association of medical cannabis use with its recreational use is the primary inhibitor of reform, we must seek to alleviate this associated stigma. A holistic rehabilitation of the image of cannabis is possible, but it could take decades to do so. People are dying now, and children are suffering, Ronnie Cowan MP suggested, “let us call it ‘medical hemp’”. But is it that simple? THE CASE AGAINST “[…] the core of the problem [is] the reputational issues that we are dealing with. We owe it to our constituents to do just a little better. We owe it to them to try to understand the evidence and create institutions that will advise our Government based on the evidence. We have a duty not to be stampeded by the popular press in a particular direction about the particular meanings of words, but we have done so for 50 years in regard to cannabis” Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate. Realistic assessments of use. In spite of the Hon. MPs’ claims, a neat distinction between recreational and medical use of cannabis (nor other drugs) simply does not exist. Neurosight and Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK’s ‘Student Drug Behaviour and Mental Health during COVID-19’ survey contains compelling evidence to support this stance. Among students who had taken illicit drugs in the 2020-2021 academic year, as many as 36% reported that they had never or rarely used drugs with socialisation as their primary motivation. For those students who used drugs daily, motivations related to mental health including dealing with anxiety, relieving depressive symptoms and escaping reality were uniformly cited most. These motivations can be considered both recreational and medical, and are the reality for many cannabis users. Image credit: Marco Verch The media and politicians’ tendency to separate cannabis users into either critically ill or irresponsible pleasure-seekers is therefore inappropriate, failing to take into account the myriad nuances between the two classifications. The reality is that most cannabis use is more complex than the distinction between chronic illness and not, unable to aptly be pigeonholed into neither recreational nor medical. Therefore, in drawing a line in the sand we are ignoring the needs of the vast majority of cannabis users, who are still at risk of criminalisation, and other harms associated with the prohibition of cannabis. Working with fear, not against it “All of us have a duty to […] be able to disaggregate all the issues and negative connotations associated with the use of cannabis” “We refuse to listen to the evidence because it will be politically inconvenient and subject to misrepresentation in the media. We owe our constituents way more than that” Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate. In the Commons debate, the implication was clear; The policy deadlock and reform for access to medical cannabis access should be delineated from the wider drug policy reform movement. The fear instilled by the word ‘cannabis’ was presented as insurmountable, and as such in order to expand access to medical cannabis, we must abandon the term in and of itself. While doing so may be immediately advantageous for medical cannabis reform, the consequences for the wider drug policy reform movement would be devastating. Advocates, activists and reformers have been pursuing the holistic dismantling of the War on Drugs since its creation. The movement has made incredible triumphs that encouraged research into cannabis-based medicines, and successfully lobbied for its legalisation in 2018. This was done so in the interest of saving lives and reducing harm above all else, a mission shared by medical cannabis campaigners. To draw a line in the sand between medical cannabis and other drugs, including recreational cannabis, would be disastrous to the advocacy efforts of drug policy reformers. This symbolic betrayal has real-world consequences. The ONS recently released devastating and unprecedented drug-related death statistics for England, Wales and Scotland for 2020, showing the real-world catastrophic consequences of the dehumanising drug policy of the UK government. Anything short of a holistic dismantling of the War on Drugs, achieved through humanising policy that does not distinguish between users of caffeine, ketamine and heroin, is insufficient. If the concern of MPs is of saving lives, specifically those most vulnerable, we cannot afford moral high-grounds in our pursuit of change. Should we abandon the term ‘medical cannabis’ to encourage more comfort and trust in prescribing the life-saving treatments among GPs? Should we instead seek to change minds, benefitting wider drug policy reform? We want to hear your opinion! Have your say on Twitter (@Voltefacehub), Facebook, or Instagram (@Voltefacehub). This piece was written by Content Officer Issy Ross (tweets @isabellakross) and Operations Officer Ella Walsh (tweets @snoop_ella). https://volteface.me/debate-replace-term-medical-cannabis/ Bongme