A FORENSIC scientist who was fined for making cannabis oil to treat his own pain is to bring a legal challenge in the European courts.
John Anderson (59) is appealing a conviction handed down at Sligo District Court for possession of cannabis.
He has vowed to take his case to Europe, saying the Government is in breach of EU regulations by not making cannabis-based medicines available on prescription, as they are throughout Europe.
Mr Anderson is bringing the case despite a shake-up in Ireland’s drugs laws later this year which will see doctors allowed to prescribe cannabis-based medication to MS sufferers.
Sligo District Court heard the former UK government scientist admit he developed liquid cannabis 10 years ago and used it to treat a tooth problem and shoulder injuries. He was fined €200 for cultivating the plant.
“I had an abscess, and while I was given antibiotics and paracetamol it was agony, so I bought some seeds and grew some cannabis,” he said.
“Smoking cannabis made me sick, so it was a simple process for me as a scientist to develop it into liquid form. It was the perfect relief and got me through until I could have surgery. The relief lasted from a week to a fortnight with just one rub to my jaw.”
When he suffered two separate shoulder injuries – one in a fall and one in a traffic accident – he turned again to cannabis.
“My physiotherapist told me the injuries won’t heal, so I got some cannabis seeds and made more stuff,” said Mr Anderson.
“The Government classes cannabis alongside heroin and cocaine and it states in our laws that cannabis has no medicinal benefits. Research going back 5,000 years says otherwise.”
The Department of Health told the Irish Independent that moves are under way to allow for the licensing of a medicine with cannabis extract to treat spasms often suffered by MS sufferers.
By Greg Harkin