Tag Archives: Mental Health

Treating mental health conditions - how can Medical Cannabis help?

Supporting mental health during these times – can medical cannabis help?

In recent years and especially during the pandemic, more and more people are speaking openly about their mental health and seeking support. The NHS reports that 2,878,636 people got in contact with mental health services between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. That shows just how many people are in need of care and treatment when it comes to mental health.

The silver lining of COVID-19 is the way that it has helped to improve mental health awareness by shedding light on all of the existing mental health problems that so many of us face: anxiety, depression, PTSD, and insomnia being some of the most common complaints. Social distancing and prolonged loneliness have brought all of these conditions to the fore for many people. The lack of family and friends has removed the support systems for thousands of people, leaving them vulnerable. So what can be used to help people manage the symptoms of these mental health conditions?

How can medical cannabis improve mental health?

When used in line with advice from a qualified doctor, medical cannabis has been proven to help those suffering from a variety of mental health conditions. According to Dr Anup Mathew, Psychiatric Consultant at The Medical Cannabis Clinics, use of medical cannabis can be a lifesaver for vulnerable patients.

“Medical cannabis in the UK is life-changing treatment for patients with a wide range of conditions that not only eliminates the suffering and despair they experience from their illness, but also reduces the UK’s significant health burden,” explains Dr Mathew. 

“The scientific evidence has always been supportive, however nothing is as powerful as hearing and seeing the direct positive impact medical cannabis treatment has had for patients. 

“This is further magnified when the vast majority of patients reveal no side-effect profile or dependency concerns for medical cannabis compared to standard pharmacological treatments. It is a privilege to be part of the UK’s medical cannabis revolution in view of establishing it as a primary treatment option for so many chronic and enduring mental health conditions.” 

Many patients at The Medical Cannabis Clinics can also personally testify to the positive effects of their prescription, carefully created specifically for them with their own needs in mind.

Can medical cannabis help reduce anxiety?

Illustration of a woman in a highly anxious state of mind

A Canadian study from 2019 showed that lower doses of cannabinoids, present in medical cannabis, helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, by helping to promote feelings of relaxation and lowering the heart rate. 

The results also speak for themselves. Lottie Robert, a 25-year-old legal assistant had anxiety that was affecting her life in many areas. After using medical cannabis for a year and a half, she had this to say: “I have anxiety which used to limit the things I do, places I went and stopped me sleeping every evening.  Since starting medicinal cannabis treatment, I have managed my condition naturally, without supplementing any prescription drugs at all. I am more confident and capable – I am in control of my anxiety, it no longer controls my every-day. I am a better person, employee and friend with my new treatment. I truly have my life back.”

Can medical cannabis help with stress or depression?

In the same way that medical cannabis has been shown to help with anxiety, it also helps to combat the negative feelings associated with stress and depression. Where traditional treatments have let down some of our patients, medical cannabis alone has shown to have a positive effect.

In the case of this patient, medical cannabis has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for treatment, after just two months of using it. 

“I have been clinically depressed for the last 25 years,” they said. “Medical cannabis has calmed me down, I don’t cry as often as I used to. I’m still down sometimes but I’m in a calmer place to think things through. It also helps me sleep longer instead of a few hours where I wake up exhausted. I truly believe it is helping me.”

Can medical cannabis help improve PTSD?

Many of the symptoms of PTSD can become overwhelming. Medical cannabis can be a useful aid to help manage those symptoms so people suffering from the condition can continue to lead fulfilling and happy lives.

Hear from one of our patients, 30-year-old Christopher James McBard, a horticulturist and garden designer, who has taken medical cannabis for a full year. for his PTSD: “It brings me down from my usual state of hyper-awareness where I’d usually live in constant alert of anxiety and paranoia. With cannabis, I am able to recognise my triggers and relax in a way I cannot without. It has allowed me to get back to work and better my life significantly.”

Can medical cannabis help those suffering from insomnia?

Man struggling to get to sleep looking at the time on his bedside clock

An American study from 2019 showed that the use of CBD improved the sleep in the majority of patients who were experiencing insomnia. This stems from CBD’s calming effects on the nervous system, helping patients drift off into a restful sleep.

Warehouse manager, Mark, 57, has been taking medical cannabis for 7-12 months.

“Before taking my first prescription, I was lucky to get two to three hours of sleep a night,” Mark explains. “This has increased to five to six hours of sleep, sometimes unbroken. This hasn’t happened for well over 10 years. It has also alleviated bad moods and tiredness in the mornings.  Medical cannabis has had a really positive impact on my life.”

Ultimately, medical cannabis can act as a useful tool alongside other forms of treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. It’s vital that we continue to promote mental health awareness and explore all avenues of treatment available to us.

Q&A with Dr Sunny The Medical Cannabis Clinics

Dr Sunny Nayee Answers Patient Questions – Part 2

After a successful live session hosted on the 18th of March, we carry on looking at what Dr Sunny Nayee, Pain Consultant and Medical Director of TMCC had to say in response to some patient questions:

Can you give us an overview on how cannabis works to relieve pain versus opiates such as codeine? 

OK, so one of the big problems in the UK, and certainly in the US, is this opioid epidemic. Part of the reluctance of some doctors to get involved in medical cannabis is the fact that they are a bit concerned that the opioid epidemic may end up being replaced with cannabis. The fact is, medical cannabis opens the door to two main types of cannabis receptors, CB1 and CB2. Essentially, a lot of the CB1 receptors are in the central part of your brain, and there’s also a place in the spine where the nerves from across your body to your arms and legs meet that has a high concentration of CB1 receptors, then there’s then the bigger nerve areas that I’m more distanced from which have the CB2 receptors.

So, medical cannabis can be split into two main components, CBD and THC. THC is mostly involved in modulating and affecting the CB1 receptors, with CBD then being the antagonist or whatnot. So, when compared to opioids, of which there are a lot of receptors out there, I believe that there’s evidence that the rate of things like addiction is higher with stronger opioids – even just after five days of using them. I think that’s awful, and cannabis isn’t necessarily a wonder drug in comparison but it has a much lower addictive effect if used effectively and safely.

When will medical cannabis be available on the NHS?

OK, this is a tough question that I get a lot of people asking me. The NHS, as you’re aware, provides care for points of needs – all treatments on the NHS have to be approved by NICE, which had its big review in 2018, in which it was not recommended to pay for medical cannabis. The two main things that it looks into is cost effectiveness and clinical effectiveness, and one of the main criticisms that NICE came up with against medical cannabis was that the studies and scientific data couldn’t convince them that it has a strong role for pain medicine.

Now, in terms of the evidence, I believe they failed to look at gold standard evidence or a randomised controlled trial. This would essentially involve a patient having an active drug as ‘Pill A’, and then ‘Pill B’ as a placebo. The problem is, it’s inherently impossible to do that in medical cannabis, partly because cannabis itself isn’t a drug talked about for CBD and THC, but also because there are lots of other properties or chemicals in cannabis, such as terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids. These all have different functions, and different effects on various different patients. When there are hundreds of drugs for a particular condition, you can see how a scientific like this would be hard to do.

In terms of if it will ever be available on the NHS, we’re looking to gather data from across the world – specifically with studies from Australia or Canada, and as time progresses there’ll hopefully be more data that we can pull to support it. Just this morning, the International Pain Society came up with another statement saying that they’ve looked at all the evidence and that they can’t make their mind up. However, when I’ve gone in and looked at some data, they’re looking at how medical cannabis can affect rats and their nerves and have looked into CBD and THC concentrations for how their behaviour changes and that’s not really applicable. I would say that real life data is key here, and I think that’s where 2021 in the UK will be strong, because we can create evidence based on real life with how our patients’ lives are being changed.

When will other strains be available?

I think this goes back to the fact that medical cannabis is still in its infancy. When I started seeing patients early last year, there were only a few oils, perhaps one or two flowers available for prescription in the UK. There’s been exponential growth between now and then, so I think there will be more and more strains becoming available on the market as more and more patients become involved in medical cannabis. It just takes time, especially with there being various regulatory terms that the pharmacy has to deal with when getting medication out to our patients.

Every few months, I’ve seen novel products and new formulations coming out and, certainly, I think that’s something that will be very important in reducing the stigma around using this medication. For example, there’s been companies who are thinking about bringing in wafers to the UK, which I think would create a smell that’s far more acceptable to an employer or a housemate. I’m quite confident that everyone in the wider medicinal cannabis industry is looking at different formulations and different products to make available, so more strains will become available as that happens. 

Is there more that patients can do to substantiate the benefits of medical cannabis?

I think I’d encourage patients to complete their feedback forms. Patients, such as those on Project 21, have to fill in quite extensive questionnaires for the database. If these are filled out and feedback is given to your doctor, they can then see what’s working and what’s not working and use this for their scientific data. We then would get what you call a positive bias, showing that medical cannabis is really helping someone with their quality of life or reducing their pain, or helping their anxiety and depression. These patients quite often will come back and see their doctor to validate their own experience, but with more private medicine that’s more unusual in the UK, at least for the vast majority, this doesn’t tend to happen so much and could be the death of medical cannabis if it’s not shown to be helpful for the patient.

We look out for the patients who don’t come back for repeat prescriptions because it’s sometimes just as helpful and valuable to see that things aren’t working, so we can make sure we’re informed on both sides of the argument.

What are the best topical cannabis products and how can they compliment cannabis oil medication? 

There are a lot of topical preparations out there for medical cannabis and, on the whole, the concept of there being different preparations is to try and avoid what we call the metabolism effect. If you eat cannabis, and it’s not being prepared in the correct way and then, unfortunately, your gut will absorb the supply and it then goes into your liver and eliminates most of the goodness from its work. This is why we have root suction, and the sublingual oil that goes under the tongue. Other countries have patches, or suppositories, that try to avoid this situation. I don’t know whether suppositories will be available on our market anytime soon, it’s certainly a very ‘watch this space’ topic.

What do you think the pros and cons are of telemedicine? 

So, as some of you may know, we have rooms in Harley Street that we’ve operated out of. When the pandemic struck last year, we sought the CDC approval to do our consultations virtually. There are pros and cons to this, as it’s great to see people face to face but it’s also taking away the length of our patients having to travel into Central London. With a lot of our patients being disabled, I think they found it hard to navigate the building we have. So, in my opinion, there are some advantages to telemedicine – another one being that it’s good to see people in their own environments. This can be good for their anxiety, especially when they have family members with them. I think, as a doctor, it also gives a lot of insight into how patients live their real lives. I remember this one patient had lots of cats everywhere, which was quite amusing to see.

In this pandemic, telemedicine became a bit more prevailing, especially in my NHS practice where we’re still using it for follow up appointments. It’s changed things in terms of how medicinal care will work moving forwards, as I think patients should now be given a choice in terms of whether they want to come and see a doctor or talk remotely post lockdown. There’s definitely going to be more of a demand for people to get to wherever easier for them, and I think there will be people that prefer one side and people that would prefer the other – and we’ll do our best to accommodate both.

Is medical cannabis effective for treating lupus? 

Lupus is an anti-inflammatory disease and we know that cannabis, particularly CBD, has an inflammatory role. When you have inflammatory conditions, I believe that cannabis can be very helpful to treat them. When it comes to evidence, it’s hard to say that there’s clear cut evidence but it’s definitely something that should be considered as a treatment. If you discuss the option with your rheumatologist, and we have rheumatologists working with TMCC if you don’t have one who would be more than happy to talk to you, they can then go through any particular concerns that you may have.

 

We hope that this session was beneficial to all that attended and hope to host more like it soon, but if you do have any other questions you’d like to ask in the meantime then please do get in contact and we’ll do our best to answer them. As Dr Sunny said himself:

“It’s an absolute pleasure dealing with the patients I see through TMCC. I think a lot of doctors that are involved in medical cannabis do it because they like to see the good feedback, so I just want to say thank you. Thank you for choosing us and for giving us this response. It’s important that you keep letting your doctors know how you’re doing, be it good or bad – I do tell my patients that medicinal cannabis isn’t a magic wand, it’s not a cure for all ills so please do let us know if it’s working or not working. We will always do our very best to help you.”

How Medical Cannabis Helps HIV Patients

LGBTQ+ Month – How Medical Cannabis Helps HIV Patients

February is LGBTQ+ history month and, with TV programme ‘It’s A Sin’ taking the UK by storm and highlighting the AIDS Crisis in the 80s, we wanted to take a moment to show our support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Thanks to medical research, a positive HIV result is no longer the death sentence that it used to be. A key area in which medical cannabis has useful clinical application is around the management of symptoms relating to a wide range of conditions, notably those that require extensive therapy, and often in cases of chronic disease.

While there is now an effective pharmaceutical approach to the treatment of HIV, cannabis has been investigated for its potential in managing both the direct symptoms of the disease, in addition to the side effects of frontline treatments. These are mostly concerned with improving appetite, reducing nausea and relieving neuropathic pain.

Studies have indicated that up to a third of HIV patients use medical cannabis, and of these a range of benefits were reported, including improved appetite (97%), muscle pain (94%), nausea (93%), anxiety (93%), nerve pain (90%), depression (86%), and paresthesia (85%).

These sorts of findings support a more comprehensive study of medical cannabis for HIV treatments, with the aim of determining whether or not they can be introduced into public healthcare.

If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get tested regularly. Catching any diseases early are key to treating them successfully. We’ll be continuing to share research on how medical cannabis has helped treat symptoms over the rest of the month, and are proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community.

Charles Cumming my legal cannabis journey first steps

My Legal Cannabis Journey | The Second Legal Prescription

In the third article of this four-part series, Charles Cumming continues to tell us about his journey with medical cannabis and how the second prescription continued to help with his Crohn’s disease symptoms:

“My second prescription arrived in two separate deliveries, due to stock levels and the pharmacy having to order in one of the medicines. Within a few days, I received a balanced flower called Pedanios 8/8 from Aurora, which contained 8.4% THC and 8.4% CBD. Around a week later, two higher THC products from Spectrum, named No.2 and No.4 arrived. Both of these contained higher levels of THC, at 17% and 21% respectively, and as these were stronger medicines I was advised to use less.

After using the previous balanced CBD:THC medicine, I was keen to try a higher quality product at a similar strength. Instead of being pre-ground this time, the prescription arrived in whole flower form. This product had a dry, dull scent which left me wondering how this might affect the vapour. It was fairly fast acting, taking around ten minutes to give me pain relief without making me feel overwhelmed or high. However, I found myself feeling more lethargic and it didn’t help as much with my depression or appetite as the previous prescription had. I also found the vapour slightly harsh, which left my throat drier than before – but I continued to use it despite this as the psychoactive effects were reduced and it still assisted well with the pain.

The Spectrum No.2 medicine, however, was almost perfect. Although this was a higher THC product at 17%, its effects suited my condition incredibly well. Doses were much smaller at around 0.8g and took around six to eight minutes to take effect. Any pain was almost instantly alleviated, energy levels were boosted, my depression disappeared and my appetite was boosted. The vapour was also smooth and had a pleasant taste, so I knew that this was a variety that I would be coming back to.

The Indica, or No.4, was well suited for night time use and was also extremely effective for pain and body aches. I weighed around 0.08g into my vaporiser, and within ten minutes the effects became very noticeable. My eyes felt heavy and it put my body into a very relaxed state, but it wasn’t overwhelming and most importantly, allowed me to get to sleep very easily. Any side effects were moderate, with the usual dry mouth and increased appetite, but the vapour was smooth and didn’t irritate my lungs. I felt tired the next morning, but this disappeared within a few hours.

When my prescription started running low, I emailed the clinic and booked in for my next appointment. My doctor’s focus was, again, on offering me the best quality available and the best prices available. I chose the Spectrum No.2 again, but this time in a slightly larger quality, and a new night time medicine which was cheaper from Israel – this hadn’t had much feedback from other patients, but with the cost difference I was happy to try it out.”

To see how Charles is now doing on his medical cannabis journey, come back to read the final instalment of his experience.

Charles Cumming my legal cannabis journey first steps

My Legal Cannabis Journey | The First Legal Prescription

After moving over from the black market to getting legal prescriptions of medical cannabis through The Medical Cannabis Clinics, Charlie Cumming continues to share his journey and how his first legal prescription helped his Crohn’s symptoms:

“When my first prescription arrived, it was in a discreet black envelope which contained two pots, each containing 5g of cannabis in different varieties. This was Bediol, a balanced THC:CBD variety of cannabis and Bedica, which was specifically for night time use. As it was late morning when this arrived, I started with the Bediol to help with the abdominal pain, nausea and depression that I was experiencing at the time. I wasn’t very experienced with balanced cannabis flowers, so I assumed the strength would be fairly mild as the levels of THC were around a third to a quarter of the usual black market cannabis I had been using. However, the initial effects were surprisingly powerful and, for the first twenty minutes, I actually felt the need to sit down after feeling quite light headed and dizzy. This only happened from the first dose, and subsequent doses in the days following didn’t show a repeat of this experience. After allowing myself to adjust to these new effects a much more balanced, calming effect took place.

I found that the treatment was effective for pain relief and the additional energy it gave me provided a considerable boost, allowing me to get on with things that I wouldn’t normally be able to. As well as its anti-emetic effects, it also helped calm my anxiety and distract me away from depression, and this lasted for a couple of hours before I needed to top up the dosage again. I kept the dosage amount fairly small, at around 0.2g. This was the lowest recommended dose on the label and also the most that would fit into my vaporiser cartridges. I found Bedica to be the most effective with the pain, and also good for other additional effects. The night time use recommendation was appropriate, as it helped me to feel deeply relaxed and managed the pain and stress symptoms so I could easily get to sleep.

I experienced a couple of side effects, with some fatigue the following morning and a dry mouth after use but these weren’t unbearable. The Bedica would sometimes make me feel ‘high’, but this feeling was manageable and contributed to the relaxation and sedation that it was intended for. I found that the Bediol even contributed to a more mindful approach to dosing, whereas higher THC products can be somewhat ‘moreish’, I didn’t find the Bediol addictive. I even noticed an increased focus after taking the Bediol, as it helped me block out the pain and allowing me to get lost in creative activities and household chores.

When my prescription ran out, I emailed The Medical Cannabis Clinics to book a follow up appointment, which cost £65. This seemed expensive as I’ve not been used to private health care, but I understood the importance of it once I was then prescribed a higher quality of cannabis, with three new varieties to try. Once again, I was able to make payment a few days later through a very simple online system and my prescription arrived in the following week.”

To carry on reading about Charles’ journey with medical cannabis and how his second prescription affected his symptoms, stay tuned for the third instalment of this series.

Charles Cumming my legal cannabis journey first steps

My Legal Cannabis Journey | Taking Those First Steps

Whilst medical cannabis is completely legal and a great method of treating pain symptoms, it’s still something that is available on the black market and there are still people self-medicating through this method. In the first of a four-part series, we caught up with TMCC UK patient Charles Cumming, who opened up about his struggles with Crohn’s disease and his journey into the legal cannabis market to treat this.

“After experiencing the symptoms of abdominal cramping, depression, low energy, anxiety, diarrhoea, bloody stools and weight loss, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2012. My condition seemed to be specifically exacerbated through high levels of stress, with flare ups happening after specific intense points in my life.

One of the most unpleasant symptoms of Crohn’s is diarrhoea, and this often inflicted severe pain in my abdomen and resulted in blood stools. Inevitably, this also contributed to water and nutrient loss and, eventually, malnutrition – which also meant that I lost weight, which wasn’t helped by the added loss of appetite that comes with the disease. The constant, and often very frequent, occurrence of this left me feeling like my body was being stripped of everything and I was left exhausted, sore, anxious and depressed.

Varying levels of chronic pain can be one of the hardest symptoms to deal with, from the low level pain to the more severe ‘stabbing’ abdominal pain. When the disease is active, I find myself feeling like a passenger in my own body, unable to control what’s happening but feeling everything throughout. It leaves me feeling completely helpless, which is a definite trigger for my anxiety and depression. The condition also often leaves me with chronic fatigue for long periods, sometimes due to the anaemia that can occur and also due to the inability to properly absorb food when the disease is active. My joints ache, my fingers feel stiff and I get sporadic muscle pain and headaches.

The first medication I was prescribed for my condition was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called ‘Asacol’, which I then developed a kidney condition called ‘Interstitial Nephritis’ through as a rare side effect. After coming off this medication for a few months, I did see some improvement, but then discovered through one of my routine blood tests that my estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) had dropped to 26. Due to this, it was advised for me to have a kidney biopsy, which confirmed Interstitial Nephritis. This particular condition held no obvious symptoms, but unfortunately had made some lasting and irreversible damage to my kidneys which halved the function that I once had. This diagnosis meant I was immediately put onto a high dose of steroids (Prednisolone), starting at 60mg a day to try and bring the inflammation  in my kidneys down. This gave me headaches, nausea, hot flushes to my face, insomnia, increased appetite and noticeable acne – with my facial appearance then causing me further anxiety and depression. This dosage was gradually reduced, eventually down to 10-15mg a day which I took for just over a year. My kidney function did improve slowly, and I was eventually stable around January last year.

Over the period of tapering steroids from 5mg to 0mg, I once again experienced daily chronic fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea. However, most distressingly, I also experienced extreme mood disturbances. Two weeks after completely coming off Prednisolone, my Crohn’s flared up severely and I was prescribed further medication with a four month course of Budesonide. This caused more extreme mood swings, together with tremors, muscle and joint pain, low mood and a general feeling of malaise. Then after quite an extreme panic attack, I decided that the drugs were doing me more harm than good and stopped taking them.

Most recently, I was prescribed further medication (Mycophenolate) as an attempt to further improve my kidney function before coming off the prescribed drugs. On this, I experienced tremors, muscle twitching, chills and shivering, dizziness, fatigue and more of a feeling of malaise. When I then collapsed on a busy train, I once again wondered if I would be better off coming off the medication.

At this point, I had experienced so many challenging and damaging side effects from pharmaceutical drugs, I started looking for a more natural option to manage my condition. After some research, I saw that cannabis had been a successful aid to others with Crohn’s, so I decided to purchase a small amount on the black market to try it for myself. However, I didn’t know the variety or quality and my methods of smoking it weren’t ideal, but it still did instantly make me feel better. At this point, I had insomnia, nausea, anxiety and was generally not feeling very well. I was expecting the cannabis to help me sleep, which it did, but it also calmed me down and helped with the anxiety and depression. It also seemed to manage my headaches and nausea, depending on the variety I purchased.

When my Crohn’s is active, my quality of life declines, and this is something that can drastically change with cannabis. It gives me the ability to function on a basic level and find comfort, distracting me from the distress and low moods and helping me eat when I’m struggling with my appetite. However, due to how I was purchasing this and the association of cannabis as a recreational drug, I would often be questioned by some of my peers as they struggled to see it as a safe treatment, despite my first hand experiences of the positive side effects. The black market contains a small percentage of people who are genuinely passionate about cannabis, who have an apparent focus on helping to improve health conditions. I’ve tried to meet suppliers through local cannabis clubs, but outside of that it’s difficult to know who or what you’re funding when the reliable sources dry up. The cannabis flower available on the black market is also normally high in THC, with very little availability for balanced varieties including levels of CBD. This is where the legal market really stands out, as all these concerns were then eliminated for me and any additional stress associated with trying to get my medication was also removed.

Using a legal prescription of cannabis helps me show others that it’s a legitimate and effective medicine, as when it’s legally prescribed it shifts the perspective from me ‘self-medicating’ an illegal black market substance to being prescribed a treatment via a trained doctor and a legal supply. I also allows me to consistently access a safe, balanced, high quality and reasonably priced product that I can use under professional guidance without breaking the law and putting myself at risk.

When I decided to book an appointment with The Medical Cannabis Clinic, it was a fairly straightforward process that was similar to a lot of other online booking systems I’d used previously. After registering, I received an email that I was able to click a link through to follow up with a confirmation of booking a time, date and specialist that I would be seeing. I was then able to pay for my initial appointment. I was sent a consent form to complete, which allowed TMCC to access my medical records from my local GP, as well as an additional form that allowed me to outline my conditions and current cannabis use. I even received a reminder email the day before my appointment, which told me exactly what I would need to bring as well as providing the link for where I would be meeting the specialist online.

In my appointment, the doctor was friendly, relaxed and explained how cannabis is currently prescribed. We talked honestly about the controversial nature of the medication, and he advised that I start with two different types of ‘granulate’, with the understanding that this prescription could then be changed if I found it to be ineffective. I was happy to be able to have the change to obtain a legal prescription, and greatly valued the care and advise of a medical professional on the matter. I was also advised that the initial prescription could take up to a week to be confirmed, and the delivery of the flower could take up to a month. However, a few days after my appointment, I received a notification from Dispensary Green that my prescription had been accepted and that a payment link would soon follow. After around two weeks, I received a text message from the courier telling me that my medication would arrive the next day.

When it did arrive, it was discretely packaged in a plain black envelope. Inside this, there were two single pots of cannabis ‘flos’, labelled with dosage advice and giving information on the strength of the product. My prescription was a balanced daytime granulate, and one to help me sleep at night which had a higher percentage of THC. I was surprised to see that it was pre-ground when I opened the lids, but It smelt very green with a light hint of citrus and orange, despite still looking similar to the black market products. I was intrigued to see how different this would be, and if the effects would be more specific to my needs.”

To find out more about Charles’ journey and see how the medical cannabis helped his symptoms, stay tuned for the next instalment of this series.