We can't afford not to make cannabis available for medical use

Wed 15 November 2017

Babs Guthrie

Steve is 55, he was diagnosed with MS in 1987. This is his story.

"Imagine running a marathon while sharp pain darts up and down your legs. This is what multiple sclerosis feel like for me. When muscle spasticity kicks in my legs just twist and turn and bend back on themselves and it’s excruciatingly painful.

Cannabis based drug worked wonders

Three years ago I was offered a treatment that could help. During a regular appointment, a specialist nurse said they had managed to get a month’s supply of Sativex, a drug derived from cannabis, from the manufacturer.

The results were incredible. It hugely improved my quality of life. It’s helped me to sleep well and exercise again. For the first time in a long time I felt that I was managing my condition.

Steve Colborn

I don't want to lose my ability to walk

My month’s supply ran out and the drug wasn’t available free on the NHS. I was offered a muscle relaxer called Baclofen which hadn’t worked for me in the past.

I was also told about taking Baclofen as an infusion, but this would involve implanting a pump under my skin. That would get rid of my pain, but make me totally dependent on a wheelchair. That’s not what I want.

Too high a price to put on pain relief

I have been forced to pay for this drug myself. I can’t work any more so I rely on disability benefits. I have to save up a lot of money to be able to afford it – it costs £412 a month. Over the past four years I’ve only managed to buy about seven months’ worth.

I take Sativex but other people get similar relief from cannabis in its pure form. I don’t like taking this myself because of the narcotic effect, which you don’t get with Sativex. But for those it helps, it should be made legal.

I've had MS for 36 years and every day I wake up and think ‘maybe there's been a breakthrough’. Now I've been presented with something that offers me hope and the NHS say they can't afford it.

My question is: can you afford people like me getting worse?"

> Join our campaigns community to stay up to date with our Cannabis for MS campaign