By Clark French
Susan Lunn, a former Special Constable and fellow MS patient, is a victim of prohibition. The misuse of drugs act 1971 labels all use as misuse … How using cannabis for symptom relief for MS can be seen as “misuse” is beyond me. I suppose it would not be misuse if GW Pharma had grown the cannabis for her, made it into tincture and charged the NHS an abhorrent price for it. Susan is a determined individual who has made the national news recently after she vowed she will not stop smoking cannabis to alleviate her of the symptoms of MS.
Susan, 43 from Hull, has been arrested for possession of cannabis despite the evidence that cannabis is extremely beneficial to people who have MS – a condition which I also suffer from, so I understand Susan’s dismay at the law as I find myself in a similar position. Cannabis has been shown on many occasions to be beneficial for all sorts of symptoms associated with MS and can even help with the long term progression of the disease as CBD is animmunosuppressant and neuroprotectant. It is time the police stopped wasting valuable time on medical patients who are just seeking a better quality of life. Surely they have better things to do with their time then harass a person with MS. Who is she hurting by choosing to use a plant in her own home to alleviate her symptoms?
Even more poignant a question is who in the hell cares enough that they think the police should arrest her? Hasn’t Susan had a bad enough hand in life anyway by having MS, the last thing she needs is being dragged to court and the inevitable stress that court appearances add to her life. Susan is just an ordinary person seeking relief from her condition. I have to applaud her for standing up for her right to consume cannabis, as she says, it has been proven by scientific studies that cannabis does help with the symptoms of MS and this is why we need the law to change to allow patients access to a medicine that can dramatically transform their lives.
The magistrates’ chairman, Anita Hall, claims to have sympathy with the situation Susan Lunn is in, yet told her if she is caught using cannabis again then she will have a much worse punishment. How anybody can claim to have sympathy for an MS patient and then go on to threaten them with a punishment for using a medicine that really works to alleviate the symptoms of MS, is beyond the pale.
As more and more states in America are allowing the use of herbal cannabis as medicine it begs the question when the UK will see sense and realise the therapeutic potential of herbal cannabis. The rescheduling of Sativex into schedule four does show that cannabis medicine is safe and the fact that it even exists proves beyond doubt that cannabis is medicine. Why should GW Pharma be able to grow the very same plant without having the police knocking on their door? Meanwhile a patient of the very same illness that Sativex is licensed for has to be dragged through the courts. 1;1 ratio THC to CBD plants are available on the cannabis seed market so the argument that Sativex is unique as it contains THC to CBD in equal ratios is flawed. The other big thing about Sativex which is worth pointing out is that it is full plant extract even though GW Pharma go to lengths to try and make you believe otherwise and that it only contains THC and CBD.
I caught up with Susan and asked her a few questions.
CF: Hi Susan, thank you for agreeing to talk with me about your case. Firstly I must congratulate you on standing your ground and fighting for your right to access a medicine that works, can you tell me how cannabis helps you?
SL: It calms me down, relaxes my muscles, stops my shakes and helps keep my mild epilepsy under control.
CF: How does being labelled a criminal affect you?
SL: I’d like to work part time but I can’t due to the law.
CF: Does this have a negative impact on your health?
SL: It’s stressful and stress and MS do not mix.
CF: What advice would you give to anyone who has MS or another medical condition and was considering trying cannabis for the first time?
SL: Some people with MS feel like they’re being labelled and won’t try it, many of my friends and family are supportive. I would advise someone that they should try it, but not if they’re too worried about the law.
It is abundantly clear that a person like Susan should be allowed safe access to a medicine that works. If you have a similar story and would like to get it heard please let NORML UK know.