Angry mum slams Alder Hey for refusing to fund her son’s medicinal cannabis treatment



Angry mum slams Alder Hey for refusing to fund her son’s medicinal cannabis treatment


Nine-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Ben can have up to FIFTEEN seizures each hour




A mum-of-six said her son’s life was being put in danger after Alder Hey Children’s Hospital refused to fund a course of cannabis-based medicine to control his frequent seizures.

Nine-year-old Ben Griffiths was born with a form of cerebral palsy which leads to him having multiple epileptic fits a day – sometimes as many as 30 in the space of two hours.

But his mum Joanne said Alder Hey has declined to pay for medication to help alleviate Ben’s condition – even though his own neurologist had recommended it.

Instead his medication was changed, but this led to the seizures becoming so bad that Ben was admitted to hospital.



Joanne, 43, said: “All of this is due to the Trust not wanting to fund this medication as they are worried all the children will want it and it will cost too much money. So my child is left to suffer.

“I have put an appeal in as my son’s life is now at risk due to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital trust not wanting to fund special medicines.


“Ben’s neurologist had no option but to try and increase the epilepsy drug as the Trust won’t let him prescribe the medication that could work for my son, Ben has exhausted all viable treatment options now and has clinical need for this medicine.


“This is so wrong that a child should be left to suffer seizures that could further brain damage him or take his life because of funding.


“The cost of looking after a disabled child with health problems will be far more than the cost of this medicine.”


oanne, who is originally from Formby but now lives in Much Hoole, Lancashire, said Alder Hey were not sticking to NHS guidelines in refusing to supply the medicinal cannabis product, called Bedrocan.


A spokesperson for Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust cannot comment on individual cases.

“Neurologists at Alder Hey will consider whether a child is eligible to take cannabis based medical products taking into account a number of factors.


“This includes the clinical history of the child, the scientific and clinical evidence for use of cannabis based medical products in particular clinical situations, and the published guidance from NHS England and the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA).

“Alder Hey always works closely with families to discuss treatment options.”


NHS guidelines on medical cannabis

Can I get a prescription for medical cannabis?

Very few people in England are likely to get a prescription for medical cannabis.

Currently, it is only likely to be prescribed for the following conditions:

children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy
adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy
And it would only be considered when other treatments weren’t suitable or hadn’t helped.


How do I get a prescription?
You cannot get cannabis-based medicine from your GP – it can only be prescribed by a specialist hospital doctor.

And it is only likely to be prescribed for a small number of patients.


A hospital specialist might consider prescribing medical cannabis if:

your child has one of the rare forms of epilepsy that might be helped by medical cannabis
you have spasticity from MS and treatments for this aren’t helping
you have vomiting or feel sick from chemotherapy and anti-sickness treatments aren’t helping
The specialist will discuss with you all the other treatment options first, before considering a cannabis-based product.


A prescription for medical cannabis would only be given when it was believed to be in your best interests, and when other treatments hadn’t worked or weren’t suitable.

It’s expected this would only apply to a very small number of people in England.




Cannabis policies change rapidly across the globe



Cannabis policies change rapidly across the globe


Increased risk of harm from cannabis across Europe: Study


PTI | London 





Cannabis resin and herbal cannabis have significantly increased in potency and in price, according to the first study to investigate changes in cannabis across Europe.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, draws on data collected from across 28 EU Member states, as well as Norway and Turkey by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The findings by researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London in the UK, show that for herbal cannabis, concentrations of THC — the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis — increased by a similar amount each year, from 5 per cent in 2006 to 10 5 per cent in 2016.

For cannabis resin (or hash), THC concentrations were relatively stable from 2006 to 2011 (from 8 per cent to 10 per cent) but then increased rapidly from 2011 to 2016 (from 10 per cent to 17 per cent).

The price of cannabis resin also increased, but to a lesser extent than for herbal cannabis. “These findings show that cannabis resin has changed rapidly across Europe, resulting in a more potent and better value product,” said Tom Freeman from the University of Bath.

Unlike herbal cannabis, cannabis resin typically contains cannabidiol (CBD) in addition to THC. CBD has recently attracted considerable interest due to its potential to treat several medical conditions including childhood epilepsy syndromes, psychosis and anxiety.

When present in cannabis, CBD may offset some of the harmful effects of THC such as paranoia and memory impairment.

Cannabis containing higher levels of THC and/or lower levels of CBD has been linked to greater long-term harms such as the development of cannabis dependence, and an increased risk of psychotic illness.

New resin production techniques in Morocco and Europe have increased levels of THC, but not CBD.

“CBD has the potential to make cannabis safer, without limiting the positive effects users seek,” Freeman said.

“What we are seeing in Europe is an increase in THC and either stable or decreasing levels of CBD, potentially making cannabis more harmful.

“These changes in the illicit market are largely hidden from scientific investigation and are difficult to target by policy-makers. An alternative option could be to attempt to control THC and CBD content through regulation,” said Freeman.

It is estimated that 24 million people (or 7.2 per cent) of European adults used cannabis in the last year.

Across the globe 192 million people use the drug in a variety of markets, ranging from heavily sanctioned prohibition to commercialised legal sale. Cannabis policies are rapidly changing across the globe.

Recreational use is now legalised in Canada and several US states, and medical use is permitted in many more countries, including very recently in the UK.




How high is too high to drive? Weed was found in 40% of car victims in 2016 – but it is a LOT more complicated to test for than alcohol



How high is too high to drive? Weed was found in 40% of car victims in 2016 – but it is a LOT more complicated to test for than alcohol


Daily Mail


Marijuana is now legal for medical use in the majority of US states, for recreational use in 10 and counting and while that is bringing individual health and business benefits to those areas, it introduces a new public health challenge: high driving.

Marijuana was found in the systems of 40 percent of people who died in car accidents while driving under the influence of a substance in 2016. 

Yet some studies suggest stoned drivers are ‘safer’ drivers while others suggest their reflexes are slower. 

And determining when someone is too high to drive is a problem that has thus evaded the chemists, psychiatrists, law enforcement agents and public policy makers. 

Two scientists explained to Daily Mail Online why the most scientific tests may not be the best way to determine how high is too high and the unique chemistry that makes marijuana a drug-screening enigma. 




There are a number of biochemical reasons that establishing a legal limit for marijuana is so difficult. 

Some are unique to the drug, but one is true of just about any substance: tolerance.  

Depending on how often and in what doses someone uses any substance, the amount it takes to for the drink or drug to have an effect varies drastically.  

To begin with a more familiar example, ‘there are lots of people who drink every day and can walk a perfectly straight line at .08 [percent blood alcohol, the legal limit in the US),’ says Dr Richard Clark, director of the division of medical toxicology at the University of California, San Diego.

‘But then there’s college students who are practically comatose at .08.’ 

The same is true for marijuana. The more frequently your endocannabinoid receptors are exposed to THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – the less sensitive they become to the effects. 


So, people with medical marijuana prescriptions, for example, might smoke weed every day, seem totally unaffected and breezily pass a field sobriety test – which involves tests for coordination and balance, like walking the line, as well as some for memory and attention – even though they’ve recently ingested lots of the drug. 

Beyond that, marijuana moves through the body in very different way from alcohol.  

With a healthy liver, alcohol moves through your bloodstream at a rate of a bout one drink per hour, but each drink within an hour tacks on more time. Breathalyzers can continue to detect alcohol in your blood for about 24 hours after drinking. 

Its effects on the brain dissipate relatively quickly. 

Marijuana – more specifically, its psychoactive component – leaves the blood very quickly, but it lingers in the fat and brain, meaning its cognitive effects do, too. 

According to Dr Clark, marijuana may even move from these tissues back into the blood days later in ‘chronic’ smokers. 

And just to add an extra level of difficulty, the THC in increasingly popular edibles gets converted quickly to anther compound in the stomach, so a THC test might not even detect it, even when a high was in full effect.  

 ‘So we’re sort of stuck,’ says Dr Clark. 




Two of the first states to legalize medical and recreational marijuana – California and Colorado – took two very different approaches to testing drivers for impairment. 

California did not establish a legal limit for THC in the blood. Instead, the state decided that someone is automatically too high to drive if they fail a filed sobriety test. 

In Colorado, a legal limit was set to five nanograms of THC in the blood, though police officers can also use their discretion to determine that someone is not fit to drive. 

Blood and urine tests are available, but sometimes a long time passes between when someone is pulled over and when the test can be administered. 

There are two recently developed breathalyzers for THC – one from Hound Labs and another from Cannabix – and several other tests in development, but these face the same challenges of disparity between blood level and actual high. 

‘So you’ve got a situation where you’ve got people who [have] low [levels of THC on their breath] and too impaired to drive or low and not impaired,’ says Dr Thomas Marcotte, co-director of UCSD’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. 

Dr Marcotte and his team are undertaking a massive study to determine exactly how to test for high driving. 

They are using a driving simulator to analyze things like how a high driver handles turning left through traffic, their perception of time, reflexes and decisiveness when they meet a yellow light. 

Previous research tells us already that high drivers are ‘less efficient at dealing with multi-tasking – which none of us should do but we all do while driving,’ Dr Marcotte he says. 

They are also working on an iPad field sobriety test. 

It’s too soon to say what will come of Dr Marcotte’s field tests, but as we stand now, no method is perfect.  

‘Field sobriety testing introduces subjectivity into something you’d really like to be subjective,’ says Dr Hall.  

But, he still prefers this to the Colorado way. 

‘I like the way California does things … my opinion is that the people you don’t want on the road are the people that are impaired, and blood levels don’t predict that as well as certain field tests,’ he says. 

And there’s scientific evidence on both sides: ‘There are suggestions that some people who drive after using marijuana drive more carefully because they know they are high, but reflexes are impaired under marijuana. They’re higher than that if you’re sober, but lower than that if you’ve drunk alcohol,’ explains Dr Hall. 

‘So what does it all mean – except it’s better to drive completely sober.’




Top Hitter


Antilles, Huntington Beach, United States


Love weed but I never drive high. If I did and got into an accident and someone was hurt I could never forgive myself. Same goes for using my phone on the road. Take a moment and consider how your irresponsible decisions might affect others.



Judge notes high standards of grammar in drug dealers’ texts

Judge notes high standards of grammar in drug dealers’ texts as he tells them ‘I hope a court never sees you again’




Luke Rance and Brandon Kerrison were caught with cannabis in a village library car park


Two young drug dealers whose text messages to clients were noted for the high standards of their grammar were caught in a village library car park.

Teenager Luke Rance was was buying the drug in bulk and selling it to 21-year-old Brandon Kerrison who was then dealing it to people in Gower, a court heard.


The judge who sentenced the pair on Wednesday noted the English used in their drug dealing text messages was of a much better standard than was usually seen – including proper punctuation.

Swansea Crown Court heard on the evening of December 17, 2017, officers were on foot patrol in Pennard when they passed the village library.


Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said the officers entered the car park and could smell cannabis in the air. Nearby they saw Rance and Kerrison.

Kerrison, who was smoking a cannabis cigarette, initially tried to flee the scene but returned a short time later while Rance stayed in the car park with the officers.


The court heard the men were searched and 19-year-old Rance was found to have seven bags of cannabis in a rucksack along with a small quantity of cocaine. Kerrison had two bags of herbal cannabis and a mobile phone.


The defendants’ houses were subsequently searched and in Rance’s bedroom officers found two large bags of cannabis worth more than £1,200.


The court heard Kerrison’s phone contained numerous messages related to drug dealing and on the day in question he had sent a message to 18 contacts saying: “Mad flavours from 10 tonight – let me know for more details”.


Mr Scapens said it was the prosecution’s case the defendants had been in the library car park that night for Rance to supply the cannabis he had bought in bulk to Kerrison for onward sale to customers he knew.


Judge David Hale noted the use of grammar and punctuation in the messages was of a much higher standard than normally seen in such drug exchanges.


Kerrison, of Browns Drive, Southgate, Gower, admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of cannabis while Rance, of Easterfield Drive, Southgate, admitted possession of cannabis with intent and simple possession of cocaine. The court heard neither has any previous convictions.


Matt Henson, for Kerrison, said his client had a realistic prospect of securing work after completing a course in construction.


James McKenna, for Rance, said his client was due to start a degree course later in the year. The court heard Rance is involved in the performing arts.


Judge Hale told the defendants that at first “cannabis may be an experiment that you find pleasurable” but its use can have serious consequences.


He said courts all too often see lives that have been “desperately affected” by the use of strong cannabis.


The judge said the delay in bringing the case to court “does not do the system much credit” and had meant a long period of stress and worry for the defendants’ families.

However he said the delay may have worked to the benefit of the pair as it meant they were able to demonstrate they had got their lives back on track and had stayed out of trouble.


He said Rance seemed have got involved with “ne’er-do-wells in Liverpool” by his cannabis-buying activities while Kerrison had set himself up as dealer for people in the local community.


Judge Hale said he did not want to fetter the prospects of the young men with custodial sentences and imposed on each a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. In addition Kerrison will have to complete a rehabilitation programme.


Releasing them from the dock he told them: “I hope a court never sees either of you again.

Where ordering cannabis is easy as booking a taxi

Ordering cannabis in Los Angeles is now as easy as booking a taxi.

Click on an app, choose your preferred product, pay for it and then sit back and wait for it to be delivered to your door.


Eaze is just one of several firms taking advantage of the legalisation of cannabis, for which the people of California voted overwhelmingly in favour in 2016.


Since January last year, when the use of recreational cannabis became legal across the state, the start-up has seen an 80% increase in sign-ups.


It had run a limited medicinal cannabis delivery service for two decades, with anyone who wanted to order having to download medical evidence that they needed it.


But now the mood has changed and 10 states around the US have made recreational cannabis legal, with the use of the drug for medical reasons allowed in 33 of the 50 states.


“People used to consume with their friends and would have had a guy that delivered. Now a lot of people feel more comfortable about coming out of the shadows about their cannabis consumption,” said Sheena Shiravi, director of communications at Eaze.


Not everyone is convinced about the new laws though, with doctors in the US and Canada – where it was also recently legalised – urging caution when it comes to usage, both in terms of addiction and the effects of the drug on the brain, particularly for young people.


Dr Romina Mizrahi, a doctor at Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, has done a lot of research into the link between cannabis use and psychosis. She believes it can be dangerous to smoke the drug under the age of 25.

“When people start smoking before the age of 16, there is a higher risk of having a psychotic experience. We know that early use is dangerous,” she told the BBC.

Opiate crisis

According to Ms Shiravi, the vast majority of her company’s users (80%) cite their use of the drug as being for general “wellness”.


“It helps with stress levels, decreases alcohol consumption and cannabis is a lot safer than alcohol,” she told the BBC.


For her, use of marijuana can also help alleviate the US’s opiate crisis, which has seen addiction to shop-bought painkillers skyrocket.


“Cannabis is a huge tool missing in the toolbox of pain management. It is not a silver bullet but should definitely be considered in the face of hundreds of thousands of opioid deaths,” she said.


Cannabis facts

  • Can cause confusion, anxiety and paranoia
  • If smoked with tobacco, can increase the risk of diseases like lung cancer
  • Regular use has been linked to an increased risk of psychotic illness
  • Used in some places to treat side effects of multiple sclerosis and cancer
  • Trials under way to look at how it might be used to treat other conditions including epilepsy and HIV/Aids

Source: NHS Choices


Eaze describes itself as a technology platform that creates an ecosystem around the drug, aiming to become the “credible, trusted source for all things cannabis”.


It currently has around a dozen retailers, and between 40 and 60 different brands of cannabis, all of which have been safety tested. The retailers employ the drivers but the buying process, the payment and the delivery can be done within the app.

There are checks to verify users are over 21 and also to ensure they only buy limited amounts per day.


A consumer uses the site in the same way they would use any e-commerce platform, picking the product they want, paying for it by credit card and then ordering a car to deliver it.

“It is just like shopping on Amazon or picking a movie on Netflix,” said Ms Shiravi.

Gummy bears

In the company’s offices in Venice Beach, there are three large screens that monitor in real-time the deliveries it makes. Exact numbers are confidential but judging by the amount of cars that appear to be making their way to destinations all over the state, business is healthy.


Ms Shiravi says that it makes “thousands of deliveries” each week.


Cannabis on the site is available in a variety of formats, from sprays to vaporisers to face creams, chocolates and gummy bears.


Smoking is still the most popular way to consume it, with vaporisers growing in popularity, according to Ms Shiravi.


There are hundreds of different chemical compounds in a cannabis plant – known as cannabinoids – and the amount of each is broken down on the descriptions of different products, so people know exactly what they are getting.


For those wanting to experience a high, products with a higher percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are preferred, while those wanting something for stress or pain relief will look for products containing cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-psychoactive.


Edibles are also becoming increasingly popular.


“People might have had a really bad edible experience and ended up couch-locked because they did not know how much cannabis was in it.

“If someone in the past was cooking a (hash) brownie, it could have 25 to 30mg of cannabis flower, whereas we have products with as little as 5mg, which is a huge difference. The motto is ‘start low and go slow’.”

High tax

The products Eaze sells range from $15 (£12) to $50, but are then hit with an additional 20% to 40% tax rate, depending on jurisdiction.


“Our biggest competition is still the illicit market. One in five people are still shopping from there because of the taxes,” said Ms Shiravi.


First quarter revenue from cannabis taxes in California totalled $34m – well below what was needed to be on track for the $1bn in yearly revenue, it had forecast.


Under state rules, individuals are only allowed to purchase a limited amount of cannabis per day and this is enforced on the app.


Everyone is also ID-checked – both when they sign up for an account and when a product is delivered – to ensure that they are 21 or older, and products arrive in a childproof package to help prevent unwanted accidents.


For retailers, platforms such as Eaze have transformed the way they do business.


Sky Siegel is the general manager of Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, a shop selling cannabis products in Los Angeles. He now has clients all over the state.


And now the app collates data about what people are buying, he is beginning to see how different clients want different things, based on where they live, their age and gender.


So, for example, people living on the coast in California order different products to those living in downtown LA.


“Artists want to use it to give themselves creative cerebral inspiration whereas working-class clients are looking for something to help them relax at the end of a long day.”


Women are the fastest growing demographic, he told the BBC.


The biggest issue for him and the other retailers is the finance model now that cannabis selling has moved from a cash economy to credit or debit card purchases.


Because cannabis is not legal at a national level in the US, many banks refuse to finance such selling, or drop retailers once they find out what they sell. It has left people like Mr Siegel playing banking whack-a-mole.


“We have to change banks every three months. If the state doesn’t do something, or something happens at a federal level, we will run out of banks,” he told the BBC.


Despite this, he does see platforms such as Eaze as continuing to flourish.


“Delivery is the future and we foresee unprecedented growth,” he said.

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