Medicinal cannabis worked better than prescribed pharmaceuticals

By Andy Bishop

Andy Bishop who uses cannabis as a medicine at the Hyde Park smokeout 2013

Medicinal cannabis user – Andy Bishop

I started using cannabis, or hashish as it was mostly in the late 80,s, at the age of 16, as most people did during their experimenting days. I instantly fell in love and have been an avid enthusiast ever since.

The medical side of my cannabis use began after a motorcycle accident in 2003 left me with multiple injuries, including losing my left leg above the knee. Leaving hospital after 5 months of care left me on a multitude of pharmaceuticals including Gabapentin, Amitriptyline and Morphine. As the years progressed and the pills became less effective, I was prescribed stronger and stronger painkillers. As you can expect, these had severe side effects on my personality and body, with my liver and kidneys starting to fail. My options were becoming limited and surgery was discussed to alleviate a spinal problem that was the root of my constant pain.

As a last attempt at alternatives before surgery, I was referred to a Pain Specialist at my local hospital, and after reading through my notes, he noticed I was a cannabis user. He asked me if I had ever considered using cannabis as a medicine, telling me that a number of his patients save their money  all year to be able to go to North Africa and live pain free for their stay, using high quality cannabis and hashish. As a recreational user and cannabis enthusiast, this seemed a much more agreeable solution compared to surgery.

The fact I was in so much pain, and was taking so many different pharmaceuticals, it also made me wonder about the effectiveness of these ‘medicines’ and decided to see if cannabis could seriously be an alternative. So, in April 2012, I told my G.P. of my plan to slowly remove these pills one by one from my system, replacing them with daily doses of medical cannabis. She was incredibly supportive, out of personal curiosity more than anything, and week by week, the doses grew smaller and smaller until the 1st December  when I took my last dose of dihydrocodeine. The withdrawals from the codeine were terrible, but cannabis helped me remain focused and by Christmas, I felt as if I was over the worst.

I have remained pharmaceutical free ever since.

I returned to my Pain Specialist in February 2013 for a final consultation and to bring him up to speed of my developments since April 2012 and I have included the letter from that consultation so that others can also ask their health professionals for something similar, recognising that cannabis CAN be a viable and successful alternative to mainstream pharmaceuticals.

Even though I still suffer with spinal pain and phantom limb pain, it is much more controllable and cannabis gets into my system far quicker than pain-killers without screwing up my internal organs.

The thing that has helped me most of all in the last 12 months is the support and backing from my partner, and with the inspiration and friendship from the people I have met in the Medical Cannabis Community, I have been able to change my life for the better.

Letter in support of medicinal cannabis.

Letter from Berkshire NHS confirming cannabis helped patient lead pain free life.

 

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6 Responses to “Medicinal cannabis worked better than prescribed pharmaceuticals”

  1. NeedsMustApril 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Congratulations Andy,

    We need more strong people like you to step forward in public about the medicinal benefits. With such a great Doctor/Clinic who were that supportive of coming off pharma and willing to write such a letter, you were blessed. Every medicinal user should be honest with their gp, even if they tune out once marijuana is mentioned (like mine), it’s important to have it on file how many users there are.

  2. AbsentheApril 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Andy my friend thats great news to hear! I myself have had a serious motorcycle crash and have TBI, that was over 7 years ago and i have been taking Medical Cannabis to help come off Sertraline, it has worked wonders and also helps me sleep, I would love to come out about it like yourself, but due to my Job and there Drug policys, at this stage I am unable too but I thank you for doing so and one day soon hope to join you in bringing this reality to light to the masses.

  3. AbsentheApril 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Andy my friend thats great news to hear! I myself have had a serious
    motorcycle crash and have TBI, that was over 7 years ago and i have been
    taking Medical Cannabis to help come off Sertraline, it has worked
    wonders and also helps me sleep, I would love to come out about it like
    yourself, but due to my Job and their Drug policys, at this stage I am
    unable too but I thank you for doing so and one day soon hope to join
    you in bringing this reality to light to the masses.

  4. Brendan Daddyb Htid HwndApril 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    This is the pharmaceuticals I have to take but could never afford to replace it with Medical Cannabis. My GP refuses to acknowledge Medical Cannabis and will not refer me to pain clinic

  5. phrtaoApril 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    I have often said that UK Norml should concentrate it’s efforts on medical cannabis access and ignore recreational use. People need to be educated that it is not about smoking (and certainly not about smoking a tobacco mixture) – cannabis is a real herbal remedy like the many others available in the UK today. This focus would be a much quicker route to acceptance and that acceptance would probably lead to less persecution of recreational users sooner than specific demands to de-criminalise non-medical use. At the moment the perception (here and in the US) is that medical cannabis is just an excuse for an Amsterdam style party and that really gives the prohibitionists a big advantage and a reason to dismiss the medical benefits of this plant.
    Oh yes and you would have the satisfaction of helping thousands of seriously ill people – ‘and that’s a good thing !’

    • NORML UKApril 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      NORML UK supports all peaceful activities relating to cannabis, whether they be recreational or medicinal.

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