Thursday, 9 November 2017

Medical Cannabis - The Dàil Debate

Wow what a day!! I warn you, grab a cuppa and get comfy because it's a long one 😘

So today was the first time I've been to any sort of Parliamentary debate.  I just HAD to brave the pain, and suck it up buttercup, to go today though.

A lot of you won't be familiar with what is happening with regards to medical cannabis here in Ireland.

Last year Solidarity PBP TD Gino Kenny presented a bill before the Dàil and there was much fanfare and excitement as we all got prepared for Cannabis to become legal and a viable treatment option for so many of us.
Little did we know that this would be thwarted at every turn.

Roll on 12 months. Back in the Dàil to be debated again.
Why? You may ask....(now here I hasten to add is MY interpretation of the days events and those of the last 12 months)
That original Bill was put forward for review by a committee consisting of TDs from the main party's and also a medical committee (HPRA) looking into the efficacy of cannabis as medicine.

Both of these bodies deemed that
A. The bill was not fit for purpose and that
B. That there isn't enough evidence to support the use of Cannabis for numerous medical complaints.

(There were more objections but I don't want to keep you for hours.)

Before you all shout at the screen...I KNOW!!!

No evidence my backside! If someone wants to put some money into double blind randomised trials I can tell you wholeheartedly that the results would scream in our favour.
However this to date has not been done ENOUGH.

We all know who makes money off the sick, they stand to lose out big time by the legalisation of medical cannabis.

Peer review and anecdotal evidence isn't enough it seems.
Just because Joe Bloggs says something, doesn't make it so.... But how about thousand, millions even, people, the world over,  saying it's so???

Another argument that was brought up was the age of "reefer madness" crap about Cannabis being a "gateway drug" and it "causes psychosis".
In the last couple of years I have learned an awful lot about not only fibromyalgia but also cannabis and it's potent cannabinoids.

Here is my take on both of those statements.

By keeping cannabis a schedule 1 drug (which by the way means it has NO medicinal value) and criminalising it you are keeping the drug dealers in business. They make their money selling low CBD high THC cannabis.
CBD along with another 100 cannabinoids (inc THC) have something effects on various health issues.
THC is the compound that gives the high.
We do not want Street weed legalised. We want access to cannabis that is not only the right strain but also the right ratio of CBD:THC that is right FOR US.

For example I use CBD daily. It has allowed me to drop a lot of my pharmaceutical drugs (which by the way DO KILL, DO CAUSE HORRIFIC SIDE EFFECTS, that is proven and yet they're still legal). I'm a HUGE advocate of it having seen the benefits first hand. What we know though is that for a person to get the very best from a treatment that a small amount of thc is needed to provide the "Entourage Effect". The amount of THC needed varies from condition to condition and from person to person. I for example cannot tolerate THC unless it's tiny amounts.

I have NO interest or intent to proceed into other drugs. I just want to be able to have some quality of life!!
Those of us who need medical cannabis just want relief from pain or to be free of the pharmaceuticals that are slowly killing us. Gateway my bum!

Regards the psychosis argument. This is something I remember from growing up, the links between cannabis and schizophrenia for example.
Again I draw you back to ratio and more importantly an individuals predisposition to mental health issues. I know plenty of people now who are successfully treating mental health problems, yes even psychosis, with cannabis.
They need lower levels of thc, this is why we need legislation and regulation! Not a ban altogether!!!

This brings us back to today.
A lot of TD''s wanted to be heard today which is great, lots of support for the bill, (which up until yesterday was looking at getting thrown out) from parties that had been involved in its bring rejected at committee... Suddenly an 11th hour turn around!!! Power to the people me thinks!! Public opinion is so very strong there would have been extreme backlash from the Irish public had it been thrown out today.... But I digress....

Today saw excellent arguments for the bill, particularly eloquent and powerful was Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett who said the following:

"In December of last year, this House made a unanimous decision to send the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill of Deputy Gino Kenny to Committee Stage. Shamefully and disgracefully, a joint health committee, comprising members from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, the Rural Independent Group and some other Independents, has ignored the opinion and advice of the Irish Medical Organisation, which represents the doctors, Professor David Finn, president of the Irish Pain Society, and Professor Mike Barnes, who produced the definitive report on the issue of medicinal cannabis, and it has recommended that the Bill not proceed to Committee Stage. I would like to know, on a matter of Dáil procedure, what standing the recommendation has. It seems that if the Dáil completed Second Stage and agreed to send the Bill to Committee Stage, it has to proceed to Committee Stage or come back here for a decision to be made to reverse it."

The nay sayers to my mind ended up looking like heartless uninformed eejits. These people wanting to reject the bill progressing to the next step because of what boiled down to the changing of some wording.

The utter lack of respect shown by Minister for Health Simon Harris and Kate O'Connell angered me immensely.
The minister does support the argument that the people need access to cannabis, but at the same time closed minded on HOW this might work. Kate O'Connell was a disgrace. Her flippant attitude and lack of knowledge on the matter was insulting. This topped off by the fact neither of them saw fit to remain in the Dàil for the entire debate!! This showed a great lack of respect not only for the TD's present for this debate but also US the people, the patient to whom this means a great deal.
Anyway next step is vote as to whether the bill progresses any further.  Date for Vote is next Thursday 16th November I believe.

Please, I implore you, make your voice heard. If you are the potential patient speak up! If it's your loved one, speak up! If you are empathetic at all, speak up!!
We need our voices to be heard.

Email Simon Harris Minister for Health

Thank you for reading this essay, you can probably tell I'm quite passionate about it lol.
Much love and gentle hugs to all, now I'm going to collapse.