To: Nicola Sturgeon, The First Minister of Scotland
Commit funds to research of cannabis based medication for chronic pain
We call upon Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland to allocate funding and research resources for the exploration of the medical benefits of cannabis based products for chronic pain. We believe that by establishing a programme committed to researching the exploitation and use of cannabis based medications, Scotland could establish itself as a world leader in non-opiate based chronic pain treatments.
Why is this important?
As someone who has lived with chronic pain for over 15 years, I have considerable experience of the current pain management options and have tried over 30 medications and treatment regimes specifically aimed at reducing my chronic pain. I have used cannabis in the past in order to help control my pain but the current legal situation means it is illegal and is classed as having no medical benefit which deters those in considerable chronic pain who may gain some benefit from cannabis.
Scottish Government figures estimate that over 223,000 adults in Scotland experience chronic pain. The Scottish Government have provided funding which set up the National Scottish Chronic Pain Management Service in Glasgow and which led to an overhaul of chronic pain services. While these investments are welcome, I believe that the Scottish Government needs to commit to exploring the medical benefits of cannabis based products in order to develop better treatments for those in chronic pain. I am aware of the reserved nature of drugs policy in the UK and confirm that this isn't a call for the legalisation of cannabis but for the First Minister to allocate money and resources for the exploration of the benefit of medicines based on cannabis.
I've had a supporting quote from Crossbench peer Baroness Meacher:
“It is shocking that cannabis remains illegal for medical use in this Country. The majority of US States and at least 11 Countries in Europe now recognise the medicinal value of cannabis to patients suffering chronic pain and other conditions. The World Health Organisation is now reviewing the legal status of cannabis under the United Nations Conventions. We are urging the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs - the drugs advisory body to the UK Government - to review the evidence on cannabis. It has become urgent for the UK to legalise cannabis for medical use, and I am now hopeful that this will happen within two years. This is of course far too long a delay but we will get there if public pressure continues”.
And a supporting quote from Liberal Democrat peer and Lib Dem Home Affairs Spokesperson Baroness Hamwee:
“The UK's drugs policy is good for the criminal gangs who profit from it, but heartless towards people who would benefit from medical treatment using cannabis. A health-based approach, and regulation, is simple common sense.”