Releaf: Remove the stigma surrounding cannabis-based medicines

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In the UK, medical cannabis was legalised in 2018. But, just last year, Releaf, a UK-based medical cannabis clinic, discovered that over a third of the UK’s population are unaware medical cannabis is a legal, treatment option for a wide range of conditions. 

Their report also found that although over two thirds (of the 4,210 respondents) said that they would consider medical cannabis as a treatment option, almost a third would be unlikely to feel comfortable telling their friends and family about their medical cannabis prescription. 

But, Releaf want to change this, and remove the stigma surrounding medical cannabis. They want to ensure medical cannabis patients feel confident when using their medication, and don’t feel as if this is something that may be viewed upon negatively by others. 

Releaf told us, when you get down to the matter at hand: medical cannabis patients use medical cannabis to better their health, and most stigmatisations occur from a lack of understanding.

So, they want to educate people about these treatments options, in an effort to help remove the stigma that still exists today. 

Why is there a negative stigma around medical cannabis use?

Most would argue the main factor that contributes to this negative stigma in the UK is because cannabis has been a controlled substance in the UK since 1928. 

In 1971 the Misuse of Drugs Act came into effect, tightening legislations and creating a set of criminal sanctions for people found in possession, trafficking, or supplying cannabis or products containing its derivatives. 

Because it was illegal to possess or trade cannabis in any manner for such an extended period over the last hundred years, a negative stigma associating cannabis with criminality developed. 

It is only in the last decade or so that scientific understanding of cannabis has increased, and gradually this has filtered through to legislation and the media. In 2018 after relentless campaigning by patient groups, the Home Office legalised cannabis as a prescription only medicine in the UK due to its evidenced therapeutic value when applied appropriately. 

How can we remove the stigma around medical cannabis?

We can all contribute to removing the negative stigma surrounding medical cannabis by doing some of the following things:

Talk openly about the therapeutic and medicinal effects cannabis can have, and share patient testimonials.

Explain how medical cannabis is a prescription only medicine, and how the clinical teams at medical cannabis clinics like Releaf, monitor each patients’ treatment plan.

Encourage those who are struggling with conventional approaches to explore all the options available to them. 

Read up on the evidence to educate yourself on how cannabis can work as a medicine, and then share this with others. 

Whilst people may have an opposition to considering cannabis-derived treatments based on their current understanding, some find that having a simple conversation with an expert qualified on the matter alters their perceptions. 

Releaf explain, medical cannabis: 

Is prescribed by a doctor who monitors your use and tracks your health

Is grown in a controlled ‘lab-like’ environment, using GMP compliant procedures

Is tested for quality, safety, and efficacy before being prescribed

Final Thoughts

In the UK, medical cannabis is a legal prescription medication. Patients use medical cannabis following the instructions and recommendations given by their prescribing clinician, and have regular follow-up appointments to ensure cannabis-based medicines are being used appropriately, and they are working effectively.   

It is not rare for patients to be prescribed scheduled drugs, but because medical cannabis is often associated with its recreational and illegal counterpart, unfortunately, stigma surrounding this type of treatment does exist. But, having open and informative conversations is one way to counteract this. 

To find out more about medical cannabis, from its clinical applications, to its legalisation, to its impact on driving, employment, and housing rental contracts – Releaf have covered it all. Head over to their blog and education section to find out more. 

The post Releaf: Remove the stigma surrounding cannabis-based medicines appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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