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CLEAR and GroGlo Establish First UK Clinical Trials on Cannabis for Chronic Pain.

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groglo banner

CLEAR has formed a partnership with the research arm of GroGlo, a UK-based manufacturer of high power, LED, horticultural grow lighting.

The plan is to grow cannabis under a Home Office licence for the production of cannabis oil, both as a dietary supplement and for the development of medical products.  To begin with, a low-THC crop of industrial hemp will be planted.  We will be using the finola strain, originally developed in Finland and known for its short stature and early flowering. Unlike hemp grown for fibre, finola is usually grown for seed and only reaches a height of 160 – 180 cm but we will be removing male plants before they produce pollen and cultivating the female plants to produce the maximum yield of oil from their flowering tops.

Finola Industrial Hemp

Finola Industrial Hemp

The low-THC oil will be marketed as a dietary supplement, commonly known as CBD oil. There is already a burgeoning market in the UK for CBD products, all of which is currently imported from Europe or the USA.  In the USA, the CBD products market was said to be worth $85 million in 2015 so there is huge potential here at home. Aside from the benefit of being UK grown and processed, we anticipate achieving a CBD concentration of about 40%, which is higher than most products already on the market.

Cultivation will be in glasshouses supplemented with LED lighting.  GroGlo already has an established glasshouse facility in the east of England.  Initial trials will experiment with adjusting the LED technology to provide a changing blend of light wavelengths at different stages of plant growth.  This is GroGlo’s area of expertise -combining LED lighting and plant sciences, including existing relationships with some of Europe’s top universities. Professor Mick Fuller, GroGlo’s director of plant science, will lead this research and development process.

Professor Mick Fuller

Professor Mick Fuller

During the R&D phase, CO2 extraction of oil will be carried out under laboratory conditions at universities in York and Nottingham which already have extensive experience of the process. Each crop will be measured for yield, cannabinoid and terpene content using high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC).  Safety testing will also look for the presence of heavy metals and other contaminants.  The results of testing will be fed back into cultivation and extraction processes to maximise yield and quality.

It is anticipated that the first batches of low-THC oil will be ready for market in six months.  We are already in discussions with potential distributors and wholesalers. The CBD market in the UK is ripe for an effective marketing campaign which could build a very substantial business for whoever gets it right.

Once we are successfully achieving our production goals with low-THC cannabis, the same testing and development process will begin with high-THC varieties of cannabis.  The aim will be to produce a range of oils extracted from single strains, selectively bred and stabilised for different THC:CBD ratios.

Professor Fuller says that GroGlo lighting products “are in use worldwide to grow a range of crops, but some 60% of sales currently come from overseas users growing cannabis for legitimate medical use.”  He explains that there is an emerging market for all sorts of nutritional and medicinal plant products but cannabis shows particular promise. GW Pharmaceuticals is the only UK company to enter this market and it has become a world leader, despite the current restrictive legislation.  He says:  “Together with CLEAR we believe we can help bring a range of safe, high quality UK-produced cannabis products to market within a matter of two to three years.”

A key issue in the development of a successful medicinal cannabis product is the method of delivery.  Smoking is not an acceptable solution as inhaling the products of combustion is an unhealthy practice but one of the great benefits of cannabis smoked as medicine is very accurate self-titration.  That is the effects of inhaled cannabis are felt almost instantly and so the patient knows when they have taken enough or when they need more to achieve the required analgesic effect.

The oral mucosal spray developed for Sativex is unpopular with patients, many complain of mouth sores from its use and it was developed at least as much with the objective of deterring ‘recreational’ use of the product as with delivering the medicine effectively. It strangles the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis oil of which Sativex is composed in order to comply with the concerns of the medicines regulators about ‘diversion’ of the product into what they would term ‘misuse’.  Absorption of the oil is quicker through the mucous membranes of the inside of the mouth than through the gastrointestinal system but, inevitably, some of the oil is swallowed and the pharmacology of cannabis when processed through the gut and the liver is very different.

We believe the best option is a vapouriser device and our intention is to source a ‘vape pen’ of sufficient quality to operate within clinical standards of consistency and safety. Vapourising cannabis oil avoids inhaling the products of combustion but still enables accurate self-titration of dose.  A vape pen would provide a handy, convenient and very effective method of consuming medicinal cannabis.  However, aside from the technology itself, initial research shows that vapour is more effectively produced when the oil is blended with either vegetable glycerin (VG) or propylene glycol (PG).  Establishing the correct ratio of VG or PG to the oil is another important task.

We anticipate that clinical trials for the use of cannabis oil in treating chronic pain could start within two years.  We want to compare different oils, ranging from high-CBD to equal ratios of THC:CBD and high-THC content. Prior to that we have to overcome the challenges of cultivation, oil extraction, vapouriser development and assemble the necessary research team and gain ethical approval for the trials.  Recruitment for the trials will start in about 18 months time.  If you wish to be considered please email ‘paintrials@clear-uk.org’ with brief details of your condition (no more than 100 words). Do not expect to hear anything for at least 12 months but your details will be passed to the research team as a potential candidate.

Mike Harlington, Managing Director of GroGlo

Mike Harlington, Managing Director of GroGlo

CLEAR is promoting this venture simply because someone needs to do something to make this happen. For all the campaigning and lobbying of MPs and ministers, at the end of the day, the plants have to be grown and the various legislative hoops have to be jumped through. We cannot wait any longer for a radical change in the law. We have to progress through the government’s regulatory regime if we want to bring real therapeutic benfit to patients.

This opportunity arises because of the vision of GroGlo’s managing director, Mike Harlington and the team of experts he has built around him. There is huge demand for legitimate medicinal cannabis products in the UK which is only going to increase with the inevitable progress towards law reform and increasing awareness of the benefits of cannabis. Together, CLEAR and GroGlo are bringing the great hope that medicinal cannabis offers closer to reality than ever before.

 

Complaint Against Mike Hall, West Midlands Police ‘Cannabis Disposal Team Manager’.

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It’s becoming more common for police forces to launch publicity campaigns about their cannabis law enforcement activities.  They may be seeking to justify their expenditure or, perhaps, appease the sort of members of the public who have their Crimestoppers ‘scratch ‘n’ sniff card to hand and turn in their neighbours for growing a few plants.  To be fair, there is anti-social behaviour around some farms: destruction of rental property, theft of electricity, human trafficking, fire risks and street dealing.  These are real social harms that the police do need to deal with.  Of course they would all be virtually eliminated by a legally regulated market and the police could get on with tackling real crime.

West Midlands Police are the latest force to join up with a local media outlet to look in detail at their cannabis operations, in this case the Wolverhampton Express & Star, the biggest-selling regional evening newspaper in Britain.

Mike Hall

Mike Hall

Earlier in April a series of articles were published, all based around the ‘Cannabis Disposal Team Manager’, Mike Hall.  To those who follow UK cannabis stories he is a familiar figure who is often quoted in Midlands local newspapers.  He shares some characteristics with other police officers involved in cannabis operations, a bit like PC Adge Secker of Avon and Somerset Police, against whom CLEAR is already successfully pursuing a complaint.  They seem to be publicity hungry, truculent and rather cocky. They consider themselves as experts, when their knowledge is actually very weak, and they seem to think they can use fear, scaremongering, exaggeration and express their personal political opinions in their official capacity.

They can’t. In fact, engaging in politics amounts to misconduct for a police officer.

We have submitted a formal complaint to the Professional Standards department of West Midlands Police.

From: Peter Reynolds
Sent: 20 April 2016 14:40
To: ‘contactus@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk’
Subject: Attention Professional Standards Department. Complaint against Mike Hall, cannabis disposal team manager.
Importance: High

Dear Sirs,

1. I wish to make a complaint against Mike Hall, cannabis disposal team manager.

I make the complaint on my own account but also in my capacity as the president of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform of Kemp House, 152 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX. For the purposes of correspondence, please contact me via email.

2. Hall has been in engaging in politics by giving interviews to the Express and Star about cannabis which amount to politicking, propaganda, misleading and terrorising the public. The interviews can be seen at these links :

Published Apr 9, 2016. VIDEO. “Exclusive look inside a mock cannabis factory” https://youtu.be/kgpUsypBjhY

Published April 10, 2016 “Sowing the seeds of drugs: The easy-to-buy items that harbour a hidden secret”: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2016/04/10/sowing-the-seeds-of-drugs-the-easy-to-buy-items-that-harbour-a-hidden-secret/

3. Police officers are specifically prohibited from engaging in politics by schedule 1 of the Police Regulations 2003 which states:

“A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere; and in particular a member of a police force shall not take any active part in politics.”

4. I am a victim of misconduct by Hall which has caused me distress at his misuse of his office to promote myth, prejudice and propaganda about cannabis and hatred of cannabis users as a social group. I am also acting on behalf of more than half a million registered supporters of CLEAR who are victims of Hall’s misconduct for the same reasons, particularly those who need cannabis as medicine for the treatment of conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, spinal injury, epilepsy and chronic pain. Hall has specifically attacked people suffering from arthritis with grossly offensive, defamatory and inaccurate claims.

5. In the video linked to in 2. above, starting at approximately 2:42, Hall says:

“Cannabis causes a lot of harm to the community. People talk about legalising and taxing it. From my point of view, I know that alcohol and tobacco are legalised and taxed but it doesn’t stop crimnals from profiting from counterfeiting and smuggling those commodities. There will always be crime linked to cannabis. If it was sold and legislated against there would still be underground users and growers that would be profiting from that legislation.

From my perspective and I’m an expert witness for cannabis for the purposes of the courts as well, I know that anybody who starts getting involved in cannabis it’s only a matter of time before, either out of jealousy or concern or spite, somebody lets the authorities know that you are growing cannabis. Now that can either result in the police coming round your house and you obtaining a crimnal conviction or, even worse, other people can find out and come and be armed raiders at your house to steal your cannabis. None of it is a good idea.”

6. It is incorrect to claim that “cannabis causes a lot of harm to the community”. The harms are caused not by cannabis itself but by enforcement of the law against it and would be exactly the same were basil, oregano or tomatoes prohibited. Hall’s expression of his opinions about legalising and taxing cannabis is clearly engaging in politics. His attempt to scare people about armed raiders is reprehensible. Police officers should not be terrorising the public with such exaggeration, falsehood and distortion. Hall is entitled to hold his political opinions but he is not entitled to express them in an official capacity. I recognise that cannabis is a controversial subject and people will hold different opinions but it is wholly wrong and unprofessional for any police officer to engage in this political debate and amounts to misconduct.

7. In the article linked to in 2. above, Hall is quoted as saying “We hear people talk about medicinal cannabis to help with arthritis, but then they are climbing up into their loft every three hours to water their plants.”. This is offensive to people who have arthritis and discriminates against them based on their medical condition. It is also manifestly ridiculous and inaccurate. Watering any type of plant every three hours would kill the plants. Also, modern medical practice is that people with arthritis are encouraged to keep moving. There is a great deal of peer-reviewed, published, scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of using cannabis for chronic pain conditions. See attached document ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’. Therefore, Hall’s remarks towards people with arthritis amount to misconduct.

8. Later in the article, Hall again engages in political debate. In response to the Liberal Democrat’s proposals for a regulated cannabis market, he is quoted as saying:

“It would impact on other legislation. We have relatively new laws on drug driving, but would we want the battle we have had with drink driving for decades to happen all over again? It could mean 30 years of hard publicity and no end of terrible accidents to get that through to people. You also have to ask what would happen to the thousands of unemployed drug dealers. They would turn to other areas of crime. And underground growers could profit further, as their product would not carry the tax and VAT of legal cannabis. Legalisation would not destroy the market for illegal cannabis. Tobacco and alcohol are legislated against but it doesn’t stop criminals from smuggling or counterfeiting.”

This is blatant politicking. Hall is engaging in politics in his official capacity which amounts to misconduct.

I would be grateful if you would deal with this complaint at your earliest convenience. I shall be happy to provide any further information required or to give oral evidence in support.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Reynolds

The CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform Campaign.

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CLEAR home page regulation slider

In five years, CLEAR has transformed the UK cannabis campaign from a ragtag group of protestors into a coherent, science and evidence-based strategy. New groups pursuing similar, responsible advocacy have emerged such as the United Patients Alliance (UPA) and most recently End Our Pain (#EndOurPain).  In the last three years, in government and Parliament, there has been more liaison between the campaign, ministers and senior politicians than in the last 50 years.  The Liberal Democrats have formally adopted policies which are almost identical to those enshrined in CLEAR’s aims and objectives.

Fundamental to CLEAR’s work has been the publication of evidence and the development of plans based on consultation with consumers, patients, doctors, scientists, academics and other experts.

These three publications form the basis for all our work.  Please download them, read them, share them and use them as widely as you can.  Together they defeat all the arguments for the continuing ban on cannabis.

ttukcm thumbnailTaxing the UK Cannabis Market

The most authoritative, independent, expert research on the UK cannabis market by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit, commissioned by CLEAR in 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

htrcb thumbnailHow To Regulate Cannabis In Britain

This is the second version of a plan for the regulation of the cannabis supply chain in Britain. This version was published on 18th October 2013

 

 

 

 

 

mcte thumbnail fcMedicinal Cannabis: The Evidence

The most up-to-date, comprehensive analysis of the evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabis as medicine. Focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Published April 2015.

LibDems: Correct On Cannabis Policy, Wrong On Scaremongering.

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The Liberal Democrats are doing great work on advancing the cause of cannabis law reform.  Their policy proposals are sensible and their arguments for change are irrefutable but they are wrong to buy into and sustain the myths and scaremongering that have dominated the cannabis debate for so long.

Cannabis does not cause psychosis.  Stronger strains do not present serious health risks.  Memory loss is not a significant issue and no issue at all in comparison to the health harms of alcohol or tobacco. Cannabis cannot be described as dangerous unless you also apply that word to hay fever remedies, over-the-counter painkillers  and energy drinks.  There is not and never has been any scientific evidence to support these myths.

Of course, we must be sensitive to people’s fears and concerns.  For more than 50 years the British people have been fed a stream of lies and exaggeration by the tabloid media.  The Home Office, right up to today, is engaged in a systematic and deliberate policy to mislead and misinform on cannabis.  Shocking though that fact is, this policy transcends successive governments and continues irrespective of ministers’ views.  It clearly emanates from dishonest and corrupt officials who are determined to pursue their own agenda, irrespective of truth or concern for the massive harms and cost of cannabis prohibition.

lamb 10 min stillNorman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP and health spokesperson, who is leading the party’s campaign, is a brave, sincere and conscientious politician. One of the few in Westminster that matches up to the high standards of probity and wisdom that we should be able to expect from all MPs.  Similarly, Nick Clegg, former leader, and Tim Farron, current leader, have spoken out strongly on the need to reform the law. Now is the time for them also to start telling the truth about cannabis, about how its dangers have been vastly exaggerated, how for adults, in moderation, it can actually be very beneficial and far preferable as a choice of relaxant to alcohol. Indeed, if people substituted cannabis for some of their alcohol consumption, it would be a public health revolution.  It would save the NHS billions and transform the health of our society.

The cannabis campaign will not succeed unless we tell the truth. We cannot compromise facts and evidence for the illusory belief that buying into the scare stories will somehow advance the cause.  We need to push back at the scaremongering, acknowledge there are risks but that they are extremely small.  They really only apply to use by children or to behaviour that is analogous to a ‘white cider drinker’.  Consume anything to excess, regularly, without a break, without regard to other aspects of life and it will cause harm but even then, cannabis will cause less harm than any other substance.

As for children, one of the main aims of reform must be to minimise underage use.  Even then, the scare story that cannabis is causing significant mental health problems amongst young people is untrue.  The Department of Health’s own data shows that in the last five years, there has been an average of just 28 episodes per year of care for ‘cannabis psychosis’ in young people.  28 individual tragedies but an insignificant problem in public health terms.

The misuse of the term ‘skunk’ is also unhelpful. The Channel 4 ‘Drugs Live’ debacle last year was  based on reckless, irresponsible overdosing of inexperienced users by a scientist who should know better.  All the time calling the cannabis was called ‘skunk’ when it is a matter of fact that it was silver haze as grown by Bedrocan, the Netherlands’ government producer of medicinal cannabis. Skunk is actually the name of one particular cannabis strain and not an especially strong one.  Cannabis is available in Britain that is twice, sometimes three times as potent as skunk but the word has been selected and promoted by the tabloid press because of its obvious, sensationalist, negative connotations.

Thank you to the Liberal Democrats for the fantastic work they are doing.  All we need now is a little adjustment and focus on truth rather than scare stories.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 23, 2016 at 6:37 pm

A CLEAR Response To the Liberal Democrats’ Proposals For Cannabis Regulation.

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libdem Framework_for_cannabis thumbnail

CLEAR welcomes the Liberal Democrats’ proposals which can be seen here. We set out below a few comments which we intend to be constructive.

We represent more than 600,000 people who support cannabis law reform. Our own publication, ‘How to Regulate Cannabis in Britain’ is now in its second edition.

It is based on independent, expert research which we commissioned from the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit, published as ‘Taxing the UK Cannabis Market’.

Comments on ‘A framework for a regulated market for cannabis in the UK’

1. We support a cautious approach and agree that it is better to start with stricter regulation that could, based on experience, be relaxed at a later date if appropriate.

Spectrum of Cannabis Policy

Spectrum of Cannabis Policy

We reject the diagram ‘Exploring a spectrum of options for regulating cannabis’ which paints an inaccurate picture of the effects of a legal market. Evidence from all jurisdictions that have implemented reform does not support the equivalence of ‘social and health harms’ with ‘ultra prohibition’ and ‘commercial production’. It is absolutely clear that legally regulated commercial production is far less harmful than prohibition.

Essentially, instead of a ‘U’ shaped curve, we consider an ‘L’ shaped curve is more accurate.

2. The diagram indicates a fundamental objection to the commercial model implemented in Colorado, Washington and Oregon and the report explicitly rejects the Colorado model in favour of the Uruguay model.

We disagree with this. The Colorado model is a proven success with virtually no downsides. The Uruguay model is still a theory which is yet to be proven in practice. This conclusion in the report is therefore not evidence-based. This suggests that wider political or philosophical considerations have been allowed to trump existing evidence.

3. We are concerned about the undue weight given to restricting commercial enterprise. The UK is not a socialist economy and there is a danger of a ‘nanny-state’ attitude which we cannot support. We repeat the point that it seems wider political or philosophical considerations have been allowed to prevail over actual evidence. There needs to be a balance between a ‘cautious approach’ as in 1. above and over-regulation which will only result in a continuing criminal market. The UK is a market economy and if the legal market is too strict and rigid, the illegal market will flourish.

4. We have very grave concerns about the cannabis social club (CSC) model which provides significant opportunity for the corruption of those involved into major criminal enterprises with exploitation of both workers and customers. The establishment of such ‘clubs’ is entirely unnecessary given the other more controllable methods of supply and will only lead to diversion and perhaps active marketing of excessive production through criminal networks. In other words, CSCs are a golden opportunity for the emergence of ‘drug pushers’ and they undermine the whole purpose of cautious regulation.

5. We regard the recommendation not to permit the production and marketing of ‘edibles’ as an error. If the other recommendations making raw herbal cannabis legally available are implemented then this will inevitably lead to the production and marketing of unregulated ‘edibles’, undermining the whole purpose of regulation. Far better to learn from the mistakes already made in excessively potent ‘edible’ products and introduce appropriate regulations with reduced dosages.

If anything, ‘edibles’ need regulation far more urgently than the raw product because of the potential for very unpleasant overdosing. To abrogate responsibility for this is an extremely unwise proposal and inconsistent with the whole basis for a regulated market.

6. We would encourage a more positive and supportive approach to enable producer countries such as Morocco, the Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to supply varieties of cannabis resin and hashish. Encouraging such trade under strict regulation will further undermine criminal activity and offers great potential for better relations and positive ‘soft power’ influence on these countries. We recognise the difficulties involved in this with regard to the UN conventions but consider it is a prize worth working towards.

7. For the same reasons set out above we consider that a refusal to regulate concentrates and vapouriser products undermines the whole purpose of a regulated market. Vapouriser products are almost certainly going to be an important component of the medical cannabis market. These nettles must be grasped. To avoid them is irresponsible.

8. We would argue for far more emphasis on harm reduction information, particularly about smoking and avoiding mixing cannabis with tobacco. As in 7. above, we would actively promote the choice of vapouriser products.

9. In principle we agree with the proposal for three levels of THC content and for minimum CBD content. However, there is no evidence to support the necessity for CBD content as high as 4%. The evidence suggests that levels of 1% or 2% adequately meet the desirable ‘entourage’ effects of CBD. Furthermore, at these levels, existing strains are available. Little consideration has been given to the practicalities of developing three new strains to meet the THC:CBD ratios proposed. To develop such strains and ensure they are stable and consistent is the work of several years, requiring significant investment and so undermines the ability to implement these proposals in timely fashion.

10. We consider that the ‘plain packaging’ proposal is unnecessarily restrictive in the UK’s market economy. We agree with child proof containers but would recommend that far more emphasis is given to content and harm reduction labelling. There is nothing to be gained from restricting the marketing and commercial enterprise of companies wishing to develop brands and packaging styles within strict regulations.

11. For reasons already set out we consider that the restrictions on exterior and interior retailer environments are oppressive and will be self-defeating. The UK is not accustomed to such overbearing and anti-business regulation. Existing pharmacies do not operate under such heavy restrictions and they make significant use of point-of-sale and merchandising techniques.

Overall, we welcome this document and the proposals it contains. One final point that is of significance is that clearly there was no ‘consumer’ representation on the panel and this is obvious in some of the tone and detail of the report. We recommend that account should be taken of consumer opinion in any future development of the proposals.

Tim Farron. Another Politician Displays Total Ignorance About Cannabis.

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Tim Farron on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show

Tim Farron on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show

It is truly pathetic to see.  Farron clearly understands the huge harm caused by cannabis prohibition but doesn’t have the knowledge, the courage or the integrity to speak the truth.  Instead he panders to to the scaremongers and says:

“Cannabis causes psychosis”

“Cannabis is dangerous”

“People who use cannabis have a health problem”

“Cannabis is a bad thing”

The Liberal Democrat’s report ‘A framework for a regulated market for cannabis in the UK: Recommendations from an expert panel’ is a re-hash of Transform’s ‘Blueprint’ and its work on a socialist model of cannabis regulation in Uruguay.  It denigrates the highly successful commercial model introduced in Colorado and follows Transform’s evidence-free exaggeration of the harms of cannabis and its determination to impose anti-business controls on a legal cannabis market.

There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis.  The most that can be said is that in a very small number of genetically-vulnerable people, it may be one of many ‘component causes’.

There is no evidence that cannabis is dangerous.  The most that can be said is that it does have the potential for harm if used by children, to excess, irresponsibly or by a tiny group of people who may have an allergic reaction.  If you describe cannabis as dangerous then you have to describe peanuts, aspirin and hay fever remedies as more dangerous.  That’s without even considering comparison with the two most dangerous drugs of all: tobacco and alcohol.

Some people who use cannabis have a health problem and they use cannabis for its remarkable properties to relieve pain and other symptoms.  For most people, in moderation, cannabis is actually beneficial, helping to protect against autoimmune conditions, cancer, dementia and other diseases of aging.

For at least 95% of people who use cannabis they do so safely, without any negative consequences and it is a very good thing for their health and wellbeing.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

CLEAR Evidence For the APPG Medicinal Cannabis Inquiry.

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RGP PJR HoC2

Roland Gyallay-Pap, Peter Reynolds

Yesterday, 2nd March 2016, Roland Gyallay-Pap and Peter Reynolds were called to give evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform Inquiry into Regulation of Cannabis for Medicinal Use.

We have already submitted a 15 page written response.  Yesterday’s oral hearing was to enable the inquiry to question us in more detail. We cannot publish our written response or go into great detail about yesterday’s hearing until the inquiry has published its own report which is some weeks away yet.

As we arrived at the hearing, Tom Lloyd, ex-chief constable of Cambridgeshire, was waiting to go in so we sat at the back of the committee room and listened to his contribution. Later, after our session, we adjourned to the Westminster Arms for some legal recreational drug use and to swop notes. Tom is a great asset to the campaign and we were able to update each other on the work we are involved in.
Roland Gyallay-Pap, Peter Reynolds

The inquiry panel consisted of three MPs and five members of the House of Lords. Roland opened our session with an account of how cannabis oil had helped in the last months of his mother’s life before she died from pancreatic cancer. The whole panel was visibly moved.  Baroness Meacher explained that this was not the only such testimony they had heard. Everyone was extremely receptive.  A lot of detailed questions were asked about CLEAR’s work and our knowledge of the science, law and best practice involved in medicinal cannabis.

The inquiry’s report will undoubtedly support some reform of the law around medicinal cannabis.  Let us hope it will provoke real action from government.

Top Jersey Doctor Misinforms and Misleads On Medicinal Cannabis.

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Dr Nigel Minihane

Dr Nigel Minihane

Dr Nigel Minihane is the head of Jersey Primary Care Trust which represents all GPs on the island.  Recently he contributed supposedly ‘expert opinion’ to an article in the Jersey Evening Post about someone who had been juicing raw cannabis for therapeutic reasons.  His comments demonstrate an ignorance and lack of knowledge which is unacceptable in a doctor in such a senior position.  In conjunction with CLEAR members in Jersey, we have submitted a formal complaint.

JEP PCT 1

JEP PCT 2

Jersey Evening Post, 13th February 2016

Dear Sirs,

On behalf of our members in Jersey, we wish to bring a complaint of misconduct against Dr. Nigel Minihane concerning comments attributed to him and published in the Jersey Evening Post on 13th February 2016.

The article in question is attached to this email. The passage we are concerned about is at the very end of the article where Dr Minihane gives false information about a recent drug trial in France which resulted in one death and several people suffered brain damage.

The trial to which Dr Minhane refers was not “of a cannabinoid substance”, it was of an FAAH inhibitor, known as BIA 10-2474. This drug is designed to inhibit the natural degradation of endocannabinoids, leading, it was hoped, to pain relief through modulation of the CB receptor network. It was therefore neither a cannabinoid substance nor cannabis. See: http://www.nature.com/news/scientists-in-the-dark-after-french-clinical-trial-proves-fatal-1.19189

Dr Minihane’s words were therefore inaccurate and misleading and contribute to the prejudice and misunderstanding around the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine. Dr Minihane is, of course, entitled to his opinion but based on his other comments in the article he is clearly very poorly informed on the subject. There is a vast amount of peer reviewed, published evidence which supports the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine. See attached paper ‘Medicinal Cannabis: The Evidence’. Furthermore, it is well established in the evidence that cannabis is physically addictive, with about 9% of regular users developing dependence which is characterised by physical withdrawal symptoms including insomnia, lack of appetite and headache.

We understand that Dr Minihane is head of the Jersey Primary Care Trust and the Jersey Evening Post will have asked him to provide an expert opinion. The information he provided was inaccurate, misleading and reckless. In our view it falls well below the professional standard that one is entitled to expect from any doctor. It is woefully inadequate in the case of a doctor in such a senior position who holds himself out as an expert yet communicates false information to the public through the media.

We would be grateful if you would consider this complaint at your earliest opportunity. We are able to provide oral evidence in support and to suggest witnesses resident in Jersey who endure unnecessary pain and suffering due to medicinal conditions that coud be treated by cannabis if the PCT was properly assessing and considering the evidence.

Yours faithfully

Peter Reynolds
President

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 25, 2016 at 10:25 am

Talking Cannabis In Parliament.

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Norman Lamb MP, Peter Reynolds

Norman Lamb MP, Peter Reynolds

Today, 8th February 2016, Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR, met with Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health, for an update on the cannabis campaign.

Independent Panel of Experts on Cannabis Regulation.

The Liberal Democrats have set up an independent panel of experts to establish how a legalised market for cannabis could work in the United Kingdom. Norman Lamb wants the panel to look at evidence from Colorado, Washington State and Uruguay, where cannabis has been legalised and to make recommendations for the party to consider in the spring.

As a contribution to the panel’s work, CLEAR has provided the independent study it commissioned in 2011, ‘Taxing the UK Cannabis Market’ which establishes the most comprehensive database on the reality of cannabis in the UK.  In addition, The CLEAR Plan, ‘How To Regulate Cannabis in Britain’, builds on this data to propose detailed regulations for exactly how the market could work and contribute a £6.7 billion net gain to the UK exchequer.

Imminent Launch of New Medicinal Cannabis Campaign.

Within the next few days, CLEAR, along with other cannabis law reform groups, will co-operate in the launch of probably the largest campaign for access to medicinal cannabis ever seen in the UK.  The time has come when people who are suffering must be given the opportunity to stop their pain with a safe, non-toxic, proven alternative to expensive and debilitating pharmaceutical products.  The intransigence of successive UK governments must be overcome and this time a strategy is in place which will work.

The CLEAR publication ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’ has received international acclaim and is the most comprehensive and up to date review of the scientific evidence supporting the use of cannabis.

Further Development of Liberal Democrat Drugs Policy.

In 1971, when the Misuse of Drugs Act came into force there were approximately 3,000 problematic drug users in the UK.  Today, 45 years on, that figure has risen to around 350,000. Norman Lamb describes this as “one of the greatest public policy disasters of all time”.  Today, in a speech about the prison service, David Cameron talked of the need to tackle the most difficult social problems facing Britain. Drug crime and drug addiction is probably the single biggest factor in our prison problems and the consequences of 45 years of failed drugs policy pervades our society.  As the Liberal Democrats consider this difficult issue, tackling reform of cannabis policy is the first step.

CLEAR, The British Medicinal Cannabis Campaign and UK CBD Combine To Offer Media Briefings.

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coronation street landscape

The subject of cannabis as medicine is certain to rise to the top of the UK news agenda in forthcoming weeks as a new Coronation Street storyline unfolds.

The character Izzy Armstrong (Cherylee Houston) who has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, will be seen suffering when her prescription medicine fails to alleviate her pain. Erica Holroyd (Claire King) will then suggest that she starts using cannabis as an alternative and ends up supplying Izzy with the drug.  The programme will look at all aspects of the debate on medicinal cannabis and examine the legal implications and the far reaching consequences of Izzy’s actions for her family.

Now, three of the UK’s most important organisations in the field are joining forces to provide the media with facts, evidence and personal testimonies about medicinal cannabis.

CLEAR is the largest drugs policy reform group in the UK with nearly 600,000 followers. The British Medicinal Cannabis Campaign (BMCC) is an independent group consisting of 4,500 members, all of whom are UK-based medicinal cannabis users. UK CBD is the leading distributor of legal, cannabinoid nutraceuticals including the world famous Charlotte’s Web and Mary’s brands.

Roland Gyallay-Pap, managing director of CLEAR, commented:

Not for the first time, but at a crucial time in the worldwide debate, the issue of medicinal cannabis will be addressed in a British soap. We have high hopes that this will stimulate the debate and bring the absurdity of the UK government’s position into sharp focus.”

Throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Israel and South America, interest in and the use of medicinal cannabis is growing fast. The UK is now virtually isolated amongst first world countries with the stubborn refusal of government even to consider the evidence. However there is a growing clamour from politicians, scientists and doctors that it must address what is a deeply cruel and evidence-free policy. Hundreds of thousands already use medicinal cannabis and risk a criminal record just for trying to improve their health. In addition they have to deal with a criminal underworld and risk violence, contaminated and low quality product all because government refuses to take responsibility.

There is now an overwhelming body of peer-reviewed, scientific evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabis as medicine.  CLEAR published ‘Medicinal Cannabis: The Evidence’ in April 2015 which has received international acclaim and is now also available in a Spanish language edition.  Download here in English or Spanish.

Individual briefings will be available on request to journalists, reporters, media organisations and other interested parties. Briefings will be led by Peter Reynolds, one of the nation’s leading experts on the science, medicine and politics of cannabis, Mark Scott, a representative of BMCC and Nicolas Ellis, founder and managing director of UK CBD.

Please contact CLEAR to arrange a briefing at your premises by appointment.  Alternatively, a central London venue can be arranged on request.

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