The Scotsman reports on the overwhelming support given to medical cannabis at the SNP delegate’s National Conference in Glasgow.
A patient advocating for the treatment of multiple sclerosis with cannabis wins an overwhelming vote at the SNP Conference 2016
The motion in favor of decriminalization of medicinal cannabis was backed by an overwhelming vote after a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient Laura Brennan-Whitefield spoke. She called on the party to show compassion and common sense.
Laura said she is not advocating for marijuana to be smoked, but is asking for a progressive and reasonable society, which is compassionate, and allows access to cannabis as pain relief.
She said she has been living with multiple sclerosis for nine years, and her being able to stand in front of the audience addressing them means she is very lucky.
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Many MS patients use cannabis
She explained that it has become clear to her over the years that many people who suffer from MS use cannabis to help them cope with the symptoms of the disease, and that it is one of the worst-kept secrets in hospitals.
All these MS sufferers risk a criminal record, or up to five years for possession of the Class B drug. Anyone caught being involved in supplying or producing it can face up to 14 years imprisonment.
In many countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Romania, Chile and some states in the US, medicinal cannabis is legal to patients who qualify, and MS would be a qualifying condition.
Cannabis for pain
Brennan-Whitefield says she doesn’t believe a person should be criminalized for easing his or her pain. This is the main medical use of cannabis, not only for MS sufferers, but also for cancer patients in pain, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and those in palliative care. People suffering from these conditions have all benefited from cannabis as medication.
Brennan-Whitefield continued by saying she knows what it is like to suffer from pain, and she knows she would not hesitate to ease her pain if she could. It is a natural instinct, and no one likes living in pain.
The resolution was backed by the majority of delegates, but was opposed by councilor Audrey Doig. She told the delegates of her cousin who started using cannabis for pain relief, but ended up using harder drugs.
Her final comment was that nowadays, people are looking for quick fixes for pain. They may start with cannabis, but then turn to stronger painkillers.
Multiple sclerosis and cannabidiol for pain
We might have to assume Councilor Doig has never lived in a state of chronic pain, so she wouldn’t understand that a “quick fix” is important to those in pain. Maybe she has not been reading the news on opioid addiction in the US, and the epidemic of addiction to opioids which seems to be lessening in states with medical cannabis programs. Cannabidiol has no negative side effects, nor is it habit-forming or addictive.
In the case of multiple sclerosis, cannabidiol alleviates pain, but also helps with inflammation causing the pain, muscle stiffness and spasticity.