Monthly Archives: August 2021

Dr Mark Wilbourn

“Medical cannabis confounds conventional medical thinking” – Dr Mark Wilbourn speaks

TMCC’s Dr Mark Wilbourn is a GP prescriber of medical cannabis working in the Jersey branch. He recently shared his experiences working on the island in an article for Cannabis Health. 

Opening the Jersey branch of The Medical Cannabis Clinics (TMCC) in November 2019 was a unique move in a variety of ways. Due to the geographically isolated nature of the island, there are many unusual ways of doing things, ranging from medical practice operations to how the Jersey police force works.

Dr Wilbourn shared some of his thoughts reflecting on what it’s been like to start working with patients on the island in an article for Cannabis Health, ‘OPINION: Cannabis medicines generate suspicion in doctors – until they see the results for themselves’.

Role of the pandemic

The pandemic presented a variety of challenges to medical staff, but one that Dr Wilbourn encountered had its own silver lining. Access to illegal sources of cannabis became restricted due to the lockdown, and so more people than ever came to medical clinics for help.

‘Switching from black market cannabis to properly produced medicine means quality assurance of the product, consistency of cannabinoid levels, and no risk of the cannabis being cut with toxic chemicals or contaminated with harmful pesticides and fertiliser,” notes Dr Wilbourn.

With people being more forthcoming with their symptoms and needs in Jersey, Dr Wilbourn and his colleagues have been able to break down some of the ongoing stigmas around medical cannabis. 

Whilst some GPs may still be sceptical about the use of the drug, Dr Wilbourn has seen a definite change in the reactions of fellow GPs in Jersey, even ones without direct experience or education around medical cannabis. The difference seen in the patients is also clear. 

“It is not unusual to see a pale shadow of a patient at initial appointments and bright, engaged, well people at follow up, once they have benefitted from medicinal cannabis,” writes Dr Wilbourn.

“Word of mouth is strong and it’s not unusual to see whole, adult families coming through the clinic over a number of months.”

Changing perceptions

As a result, Dr Wilbourn reports that once-sceptical GPs are actually referring patients to The Medical Cannabis Clinic. After all, it’s hard to argue with proven results and happy patients.

“Much of medicine is about treating one problem with multiple drugs, whereas cannabis-based products can treat many problems with one family of medical botanics,” explains Dr Wilbourn. 

“Their ability to do this confounds conventional medical thinking and generates suspicion in doctors until they see the results for themselves.” 

Read the full article here.

Protect yourself against the dangers of the illegal black market

Since medical cannabis became available in 2018, thousands of patients have made the decision to turn away from the black market – sourcing cannabis this way is dangerous and illegal.

There are many advantages that are only available to patients through legal medical cannabis and there are a lot of negatives associated with buying through the black market.

Getting a prescription for medical cannabis is the only way to avoid the risks of poorly produced, harmful, inconsistent products and your involvement in an illegal criminal black market, while getting the highest number of possible benefits from your cannabis medicine and treatment. 

When using cannabis to treat your medical conditions there really is only one way to guarantee legality, safety, consistency and efficacy: legal medical cannabis.

Consistency of product means consistency of treatment for you

For new patients this is likely the first-time they’ve been able to guarantee consistency of product with their medical cannabis – essential in any medication to determine its effectiveness and for administering the right dosages. 

Getting the same product each month, in accordance with our specialist doctors’ advice, is vital for patients who need to manage their symptoms carefully and receive targeted, individualised intervention based on the compounds of the specific cannabis treatment that is appropriate for them and their condition. 

Our patients can be assured of the same high-quality product each month (88% of all active patients who responded to an internal survey said they found medical cannabis was more effective than any other medication previously taken) which brings them peace of mind. One of our patient’s reports:

“Since I have been able to source cannabis legally and consistently my quality of life and mental health has never been so good”- BH

Harmful chemicals and poor production techniques in black market cannabis production are dangerous to health

Due to its emerging legal status worldwide, cannabis’ reputation as a relatively benign plant means some people may not be aware of the harms associated with black market use. However, with production techniques in the medical industry tightly regulated and medicines produced in accordance with ‘good manufacturing practice’, patients don’t have to worry about products containing research chemicals such as spice

Many more illegal users are inhaling vape carts which have their own dangers and while the exact harmful effects of pesticide inhalation are currently unknown it’s certainly damaging and yet another risk that the illegal user has to factor in.

Many patients come to us seeking guided care from a specialist. They want to leave the black market because they know they are risking their health and breaking the law. They deserve and demand better than dangerous compounds and chemicals when it comes to their health.

Receive the guided care of a medical expert who puts your well-being first

After patients have had a virtual appointment with one of our specialist doctors they will receive their medicine via secure delivery which is an extremely convenient process for obtaining cannabis products.

This means they no longer need to interact with individuals who operate on the illegal black market. They now speak to medical professionals who have the necessary qualifications and experience to treat each unique condition that patients present with. Patients deserve safe, legal and professional service when taking cannabis medicine.

Why an appraisal of your medical history is so important

Attention from a specialist doctor is assured at the Medical Cannabis Clinic (TMCC), with regular appointments giving individuals access to the conversations around the treatment that they have deserved for years but have been unable to have. Discussing your medical history with a doctor, who will access your Summary Care Record from your GP, makes sure all your experiences matter. 

When a doctor can take a holistic view around patient use and consider previous diagnoses/treatment it makes people feel like they are being treated by uniquely empathic professionals.

“To finally have access to doctors who understand the benefits of cannabis to people like me is… a dream come true” – S Munro 

Your specialist doctor will work with you to carefully find the best way to manage your condition and prescription. They will acknowledge your health concerns in a manner many patients have been unfamiliar with before and this can be life-affirming validation. This medical authority can also help attitudes of family members and people in the wider community change and consequently help raise the profile for other patients as the process becomes normalised.

The consequences of being a black market consumer can result in up to 5 years in prison

Perhaps the most concerning and confusing of all the harms of illegal involvement are the issues surrounding your status as a criminal. In the last 20 years cannabis has been the subject of some mixed messaging. It’s been re-classified twice, received a margin of public support, its prevalence in popular culture has increased, seen its status abroad change and news about cannabis warnings being the mechanism police prefer to dispense for first-time offenders and de-facto decriminalisation in some areas means it is easy to perceive cannabis’ criminal profile as a near-irrelevance. 

However, depending on the nature of the offence and whether it is a first-time offence, penalties for possession of illegal cannabis continue to range from a cannabis caution up to 5 years in prison and can affect your ability to travel abroad.  It is important to consider that these offences are not mitigated by any intent to use cannabis for medicinal purposes – for this to be potentially acceptable there needs a prescription for cannabis written by a UK doctor to be certain of staying within the law. 

For people growing their own cannabis or supplying, the offences carry a sentence of up to 14 years. Drivers face serious punishments for driving with cannabis in their system and employees have no recourse if they are found to be using illegal cannabis and fail a drug test – each of these problems could be mitigated via a legal prescription.

If you’re supporting the black market you’re also supporting human trafficking 

Being a small cog in the wheels of black market use also brings with it an unpleasant association. The illegal industry is worth around £2.5bn a year and attached to this lucrative market are the victims of human trafficking. Most chillingly, children have been enslaved on illicit cannabis farms and punished when grows fail. It’s little wonder they felt their lives were worth less than a plant and that individuals involved in this trade may have to be taken into care after their experiences.

Regulated and controlled supply saves lives

The medicines prescribed from doctors at TMCC are from companies such as Bedrocan. Prescribing these as a part of the UK medical cannabis industry means that these companies’ products are regulated and a legal patient need not be concerned about moral issues and product safety as it is produced without causing harm to innocent individuals caught up in black market operations. 

Furthermore, being a part of the legal medical cannabis programme can help the situation for all patients as it provides an evidence-base that can highlight the incredible medical properties this plant has when prescribed safely and legally.

Why turning to legal medical cannabis is the only choice

It is clear to see that the legal market is the only sensible and responsible choice for the medical cannabis consumer. The patients who have turned away from the black market are now enjoying legal protection, safer and more effective products and consultations with a medical expert, care and advice.

Why take the risk with your health and livelihood in an illegal, unregulated, black market lottery?