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Mental health campaigner back on his feet — thanks to ‘cannabis biscuits’

MENTAL health campaigner John McCarthy is “overjoyed” to be back on his feet — nine months after his legs seized up due to motor neuron disease.

Some might call it a miracle of Christmas, but Mr McCarthy says it is down to eating ‘cannabis biscuits’.

neurons disease cannabis marijuanaThe well-known campaigner, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease last year shortly after beating cancer, said his life had become a living nightmare as he was confined to a wheelchair and scooter to get around.

After hearing “pub talk” that cannabis was good for treating pain, Mr McCarthy began eating small amounts of hash biscuits.

“It sounds like such a simple thing but my life was revolving around how I would get to the toilet. I couldn’t go to friends houses or anywhere really as it was always hanging over me.

“Now I can walk short distances which means I can go down to my local pub and get to the toilet unaided. Today I am in the house sweeping the living room floor — it is unbelievable.

“All I know is I could not walk. I ate cannabis biscuits and now I can. I understand the medical profession cannot really comment on this but I have asked them to note it and record it.”

Mr McCarthy said his doctors were “stunned” by his newfound ability to walk. Since he began taking the biscuits, he has also begun researching the issue and came across studies in relation to motor neuron disease and cannabis.

The most recent paper was published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in May of this year.

It calls for clinical trials to be carried out on the effects of cannabis on patients with motor neuron disease due to benefits seen in trials on animals, and anecdotal evidence from people with the disease.

“In areas where it is legal to do so, marijuana should be considered in the pharmacological management of ALS,” the paper says.

The founder of mental health charity Mad Pride Ireland, Mr McCarthy said he was “surprised” his medical research team had not alerted him to the possibilities of what might be out there.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Friday, December 24, 2010

By Jennifer Hough

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