MS Patient now faces court ordeal
By Clark French
Yet another MS patient, this time in Oxfordshire has been raided for growing her own medicine after being denied Sativex. This is a complete travesty and an utter waste of tax payer’s resources. We know cannabis is the single most effective medicine for MS patients as proven by the ten year study at the University of California and by numerous other scientific studies. You only need to type in cannabis and MS into Google to get a wealth of information on the subject. I caught up with Michelle and asked her a few questions regarding her case.
Hi Michelle, thanks for agreeing to talk to NORML UK and get your story heard on our website.
You use cannabis to treat your Multiple Sclerosis? Can you briefly explain how MS affects your life and how cannabis helps?
Imagine falling into a bush of stinging nettles … stinging buzzing burning all over your feet, hands, legs, arms, buttocks, back and shoulders; around your neck, in your ears, your nose, your mouth. Well that’s just one of the symptoms … I have this symptom every day and have done for decades… I don’t really seem to stress about it when I have cannabis in my system. It still happens but I’m able to accept it.
Have you ever played that Buzz game where you hold a device and press a button before other players and the loser gets a shock? My brother thinks it’s great that I can hold three or four of these devices and get the shocks every time and not even flinch. That’s because I get those shocks every day, every hour; and cannabis allows me to ignore them rather than be over exaggerated and cause myself more problems.
What advice would you give to someone with Multiple Sclerosis or another chronic condition who is thinking of trying cannabis?
Cannabis, in MY opinion, exaggerates certain brain activities … for example: If you are an overly sensitive person then it can transpire to paranoia. It calms and fixes nerve problems and allows the brain to continue working. Nosce Te Ipsum: Know thyself.
You have applied for Sativex; what was the experience of being turned down for a medicine which your neurologist wants to prescribe you?
I was totally shocked when I was turned down and even more shocked when my appeal was turned down. I was given no alternative, no support, no referral to neurologists; nothing… just a quick letter to dispose of my request without any regard to the facts. I was also shocked that they got so many of the facts about my case wrong. Did they even consider my condition? I felt like I was a worthless throw away request without any support.
What made you decide to grow your own cannabis? Would you have grown it yourself if you had been given Sativex?
I felt that the PCT gave me no alternative. I even wrote to them explaining how they would be forcing me to get the help myself. I waited years, offered myself as a willing guinea-pig for their trials. I had suffered and struggled thinking this drug would soon be legal and then when it was I was denied it, even though I became less of a burden with the drug than without it. My GP knew I was taking cannabis and I visited him less and less with my own control. My Neurologist knew I was taking cannabis and discussed the bad side effects. I was even accepted on trials at the Neuro department JR Oxford for new drugs to treat MS with chemo and they knew I was taking cannabis. I didn’t seem to suffer from the bad side effects they expected from cannabis. I did however have very bad side effects from the trials drugs.
What do your health care professionals think about you using herbal cannabis after being denied Sativex?
If only they could speak freely without receiving any disciplinary action. Off the record accounts for nothing and those who talk on the record have their volume muted before it reaches the public. I do however have a letter from Professor Wade from the Neurological department at John Radcliff Hospital stating my name and how he feels I benefit from the use of cannabis with my Multiple Sclerosis. This letter counted for nothing!
Can you explain the experience of being raided by the police and what impact that has had on you?
Participating in the use of a controlled substance generally means that you would pre-warn yourself about the impact of a raid. I am not an aggressive person and I always speak the truth. I was also expecting the raid as I had been warned by the angry friend who reported me to expect one by a text message “Oh dear, you’re in trouble KNOCK KNOCK” was sent to my mobile. When it eventually happened I tried to stay calm and be obliging.
I can’t do this anymore … I will NOT stop using cannabis to treat my MS while I am able to get it. As I have had this disease for many years and I have a vast amount of contacts, I will always be able to get cannabis while I am a free person. I have tried to obtain the drug legally and even considered moving to a country that does allow us to this drug legally. The answer to that is “Why should I? I was born in Oxfordshire, educated in Oxfordshire, worked and paid taxes in Oxfordshire, diagnosed with the disease in Oxfordshire. Pensioned off on medical grounds in Oxfordshire. I allowed my body to be used for trials on my disease in Oxfordshire. The drug I require was tested in Oxfordshire and now it is legal. I am not worthy.
If I am not worthy, then do I not have a human right to avoid laws set by those who have rejected me? I am only allowed prescribed drugs that slow my breathing, make me move about less or make me fat and heavy so I can’t move about and then I eventually die or commit suicide? I’m asking for a drug that allows me to get the best from my body and even return to work.
What do you want to see happen in the future so that other people don’t have to go through the same experiences?
Change for medical information. The truth about CBD content in cannabis to be aired; rather than all the bad press concerning the THC content.
The daily mail journalist Peter Hitchens has argued that we need harsher drug laws, as we don’t have an effective prohibition in the UK – what would you say to him after your experience with the police?
The laws are harsh enough. Three officers and two vehicles attended the scene while I was there. I was locked in a cell for several hours, interviewed under caution, finger printed etc and released on bail. I now have a date for Magistrates Court. I have been informed it could go to Crown Court and I may face a prison sentence. When I went home I discovered that all my equipment for hydroponic growing had been taken as evidence against me. I was cooperative throughout the entire procedure.
A disabled woman treating her Multiple Sclerosis with a home grown herb that is proven to aid recovery was sent to prison.
Is that the headline Peter Hitchens is expecting? Or does he want me flogged?
This is not the first time I have reported on MS patients being arrested and being hauled through the courts for using cannabis as a medicine to help alleviate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Only a couple of months ago I reported on the cruel magistrate, Anita Hall, who told former Special Constable and MS patient Susan Lunn was told she would face a much worse punishment if she were caught using cannabis again. If Anita Hall knew what the pain of living with Multiple Sclerosis was like she would know there is no worse punishment that being denied your medication.
Personally I believe that raids on MS patients have to stop. NORML UK and my own organisation Action4MS will be working with Michelle further to try and get her story heard. It is a complete waste of tax payer’s money and Thames Valley Police really should be ashamed of themselves for raiding a patient’s home. Are you a medical patient and have a similar story? If so then please get in contact with NORML as we would love to hear from you.
Clark French is an MS patient and founding member of NORML UK. You can read more by him including articles and strain reviews on his blog – www.clarkfrench.wordpress.com