Victor Hamilton, the well-known cannabis campaigner, has launched a new initiative for the recognition of medicinal cannabis in the UK.
Throughout Europe and North America cannabis or marijuana is recognised as a valuable medicine. In the USA there are now 15 states with medical marijuana laws and President Obama has ordered the DEA and the FBI not to enforce federal laws on medical marijuana users.
Many thousands of people in the UK already benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis but they are criminalised and risk imprisonment for doing so. Much of the advanced research into cannabinoids and medicinal cannabis takes place in the UK and GW Pharmaceuticals, pre-eminent in synthetic cannabinoids, is a British company. Despite this, UK laws lag far behind as the government obstinately refuses to listen to its own scientific advisors about the relative harmlessness of the plant and its medicinal benefits.
The American Medical Association has adopted a new policy in favour of medical marijuana to “facilitate clinical research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines”.
The tide is turning in the USA. More than 80% of Americans say that marijuana should be legal for medical use. That’s more than currently approve of President Obama’s current job performance or support the recent health care plan passed by Congress. Many other states are queuing up to pass medical marijuana laws and others wish to decriminalise, tax and regulate marijuana for all adults.
The Dutch government already has an Office Of Medicinal Cannabis which supervises the cultivation and distribution of a high quality medicinal cannabis. Apart from France and the UK most European countries have effectively decriminalised cannabis particularly for medicinal use.
Cannabis has proven therapeutic benefits in a number of areas:
- pain and muscle spasms/cramps associated with MS or spinal cord damage
- nausea, reduced appetite, weight loss and debilitation associated with cancer and AIDS
- nausea and vomiting caused by medication or radiotherapy for cancer and AIDS
- long-term neurogenic pain caused by, for example, nerve damage, phantom limb pain, facial neuralgia or chronic pain following an attack of shingles
- tics associated with Tourette’s Syndrome
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