Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2014
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2014 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Ben Leo


AN MP has called for a government review into the medicinal use of

Drugs Minister Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, wants the
Department of Health to consider broadening the range of medical
conditions for which cannabis can be used.

The MP wants new laws passed that legalise the widespread use of the
plant to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions - including
the side effects of chemotherapy, Crohn's disease and MS.

Mr Baker, who admits to smoking cannabis in the past, said he was
uncomfortable that there were "credible people" who use cannabis to
relieve their condition but had to break the law to help their health.

He said: "I think it is time to reconsider medicinal properties of
cannabis, given what I have learnt in my role as a minister. I have
seen more and more evidence that cannabis can provide genuine medical
benefits to treat a number of conditions.

"There is a growing body of research that shows the medical properties
of chemical components of cannabis. We should seriously consider
whether it is valuable to treat conditions such as MS, glaucoma,
chronic and neurogenic pain and the side effects from chemotherapy and
HIV/AIDS treatments."

Mr Baker said he had written to Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state
for health, asking for a review into the benefits of cannabis and an
easing of restrictions on the development of cannabis-based medicines.

The Lewes politician's call for a review comes weeks after scores of
medicinal cannabis users met at a United Patients Alliance meeting in
Brighton to share their stories on how the drug helped their various
health conditions.

They included Michael Cutler, 63, from Hastings, who claims to have
rid himself of liver cancer after taking cannabis oil.

Clark French, 28, from Brighton, revealed cannabis helped alleviate
his chronic MS.

Mr French, of United Patients Alliance, said: "After meeting with
Norman several times and explaining how medical cannabis helps, I feel
very positive about his calls for a review. The fact he has backed it
is a strong indicator we are on the right path when it comes to the
medicinal use of cannabis and it is welcome the issue is being spoken
about by Government officials.

"We have been busy planning our next campaign - organising more
meetings and getting a structured way to work with everyone who wants
to be involved. The response we have had is fantastic."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt