Green dreams: the growing case for medical marijuana

Should medical cannabis be legalised? It makes sense to the woman with MS who pays £500 a month on it, and the neurologist whose patients resort to street drugs

Nicky Haynes has almost forgotten the pain she used to be in. She has been taking Sativex, a drug derived from cannabis, for about five years and says it has hugely improved her life. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1994, and her condition progressively worsened to the point where she couldn’t sleep, where reaching for a glass of water would trigger a spasm and she was in constant pain. The first time she took Sativex was during a long car journey, fearful that she wouldn’t be able to walk when she got out. But she was able to walk better than she had for a long time.

After repeated, and failed, attempts to get the drug prescribed free on the NHS, Haynes has spent more than £20,000 on it. She can barely afford it – the family has to find about £500 a month from her benefits and workplace pension from a job she had to give up because of her illness. “My partner is my carer,” she says. “We go without to [pay for] it, and so far, it is worth it.” But her children are getting older and it is becoming harder to choose to spend the money on herself, even though it has, she says, given her freedom to do simple things such as get dressed, eat and drink, and use her wheelchair – as well as freedom from relentless pain. She has tried all other medications available: one made her hallucinate and talk nonsense to her children, she says.

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Guardian Health and Wellbeing - Mon, 05 Jun 2017 05:00:44 GMT

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