Dying for Weed | Drugs Map of Britain


And let’s blaze. In the USA there’s been a medicinal
cannabis revolution. It is now legal in half the
country’s 50 States to treat illness. NEWSREADER:Michaela is a registered
medical marijuana patient.
In Britain the drug is illegal, with the government saying
it’s been proven to damage mental and physical health. I’m embarking on a road trip
around the UK to find out why many people believe
in the medicinal power of cannabis and are prepared
to break the law to use it. I’m sorry.It stops when it wants. This is nothing.
It gets worse, doesn’t it?
How long is it going to go on for? Only a couple of moments. It’s worse when it’s… ..the whole left side that goes. Andy had two motorbike accidents
17 years ago, and sustained severe injuries
all over his body. He also developed epilepsy
and osteoporosis… ..and is bedbound. He uses cannabis
to help alleviate pain. All right, I’ll be back.
I’ll see you later.
Is this bit really hard? Always is. It’s cos I can’t move
the shoulder much.
It takes so much effort
to just even…
LOUD ROCK MUSIC PLAYS AS RINGTONE Sod’s law. I’m noticing every week
it’s getting harder and harder…
..to make a spliff. You look like you’re in pain. I am in pain. It hurts. I mean,
I can’t even open my hands properly.
I’m not doing this to get stoned. I’m not doing it for fun. You all right? It causes a little pain, but it
doesn’t matter in the end, does it?
Because, at the end of the day,
I’ve got a joint,
it’s going to make me feel
a little bit better up here.
I don’t reach the point
of getting stoned.
I never do. And as anybody who
smokes these will know,
that’s a very badly built joint. So, the days of me being able to
roll are rapidly running out.
I need to find another solution. For many other people,
that solution is Jeff, a cannabis campaigner who believes in the healing
properties of the drug. He has devoted the last 15 years to campaigning for cannabis
legalisation and has been arrested 12 times. Is your car a bit like an office? I’d actually say, it’s probably,
some days, it’s more than my office.
It’s more like home.
Really, why do you say that? Well, on occasion I’ve slept in my
car overnight, on such missions
and, well, yeah, generally,
it is my office.
I’ve got everything here I need – Internet connection,
Google and e-mail.
And cannabis oil in the boot? Probably. NEWS REPORTER:Just two weeks ago,
Jeff Ditchfield was facing
a jail sentence for possession
and intent to supply cannabis.
He freely admitted giving the drug
to sick people,
and in a landmark ruling,
a jury found him not guilty.
If a person is in need,
needs cannabis,
then I’ll continue to help them. Jeff travels around the UK distributing the drug
in the form of oils which he makes himself
from cannabis plants. I brought you some more…
Fantastic. ..so I can restock you. But what
I’ve actually got here this time,
is, I have two different versions.
OK. His product is unregulated
and illegal, which makes people fearful about
identifying themselves. But there is a big demand all over
the UK for his cannabis oils. We are assisting the parents of over
70 seriously ill children,
just in the UK alone. And through the Facebook page we are
receiving roundabout 250 to 300
requests for help per week. That’s not just from parents,
that’s from adults, mainly,
and mainly cancer sufferers. Do you make money from giving
cannabis oil to parents? No. People’s ability to pay doesn’t
enter into our thought process
when we decide to help a parent. Jeff is visiting a mother whose daughter suffers
from severe epilepsy. The daughter is only four years old. What is the risk of this condition
that she has? The most serious thing that can
happen is, she’ll die.
And that’s the reason why parents
like myself
have been giving the kids it, because when you’ve exhausted every
other avenue,
and every other drug… Since I’ve been giving her the oil, she doesn’t jump the same
in her sleep.
You would do anything, you know,
to try and cure your own child.
Hello. You’re not worried at
all that the cannabis oil hasn’t been through the
same of clinical trials that her prescribed medication
would have been on? Definitely not, no. Because it helps her?
Because it helps her, yeah. I know I’m doing the right thing. I know it’s a lot safer than the
drugs that I’ve got in my cupboard.
I have two versions of oil
with me at the moment.
They’re two for you to have and try. It’s not just desperate parents
hoping for a cure. Recently engaged Phil and Nicky have placed a lot of faith
in the drug as well. So I was planning to propose to
Nicky before Christmas,
when we went to London.
I guess I just bottled it
and thought maybe I could find a
better time to do it, or something.
Yeah, I can’t imagine it’s easy. Yeah, yeah. So how did the doctors pick it up? I woke up in Countess Hospital
in Chester.
I had a seizure upstairs, yeah. And that was the first seizure
you’ve ever had? Yeah, never had a seizure before. Just before I proposed, we had been
to Walton to see my neurosurgeon.
He’d looked at all the scans he’d
got from Chester,
and he had said,
“What you have here is a glioma.”
You were diagnosed with brain cancer
in January of this year. Yes. Cannabis contains at least
400 compounds. The most widely known are CBD,
which is legal, and THC, which is not. THC is the compound
that gets you high. There are conflicting opinions
on which compounds work best for different conditions. I take CBD oil, and I take that
through the day
and I will then vape THC. I just want to use this
for shrinking this tumour
or whatever’s left of it. Phil has already had surgery
to remove the tumour and a course of radiotherapy, but he believes the traditional
medicine alone is not enough to beat the disease. Alongside cannabis, he eats
a special carb-free diet and wears blue blocker sunglasses. In a week’s time he goes back to the
hospital to find out if there is any cancer
left in his brain. In her quest to help Andy
deal with pain, his wife, Ruth, is learning how to make cannabis oil
for his vape. He wants to quit smoking it because
of the impact on his lungs. I’ve had to learn
how to do all of this…
..because nobody, sort of,
tells you.
So, Ruth, can you tell me what are
we doing in your kitchen today? Right, we’re going to be cooking up
cannabis vaping oil,
so that Andy can put it into his
vaporising machine and he vapes it.
Why can’t you just buy the stuff? Because it’s illegal. Doing this, I’m committing
a criminal offence.
So give it a test
and see what you think.
I think
you’ve got the mixture right.
But I just need to get
the flavour right?
It’s just the flavour.Right. I don’t know, really, what words
to describe it, other than…
..dirty underwear.
SHE LAUGHS
What I want is something safe
for him to use, and for me,
even though it’s not really… ..something I would normally
have ever done,
I’ve got to the stage now where I
think, I’ve got to do something,
because this is what works. It stops him shaking. He can,
you know, get out and about.
He doesn’t want to get stoned,
he just wants to, sort of,
lead a normal life. I was doing the cheese
for my cheese on toast.
And…She begged? She begged, so I said,
I’m not going to, erm…
..give it to you until you sit down. She sat down first time. Andy used to take more prescription
medication before using cannabis. Since he started taking
the cannabis, what medications
has he stopped using? These ones that I’m pulling
out now.
So, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…Oh, and the fentanyl
patches.
And the fentanyl patches. So that’s eight… So that’s eight
prescribed medications that he’s off since taking in the cannabis.Yes. The spasms have already slowed
right down.
And I’m probably ten minutes
into smoking this.
None of my medicines work
this quickly.
None of them. I’ve researched all of Andy’s
medical conditions.
I research all of this. And I know, basically,
what it does to his body.
So I would rather have this than
all the pills he was taking
any day of the week, because I get
the person I married back again.
I was extremely tired towards the
very start of radiotherapy
and as soon as I started using
endocannabinoids,
all that tiredness went away. I didn’t have to go on steroids
through radiotherapy
and I got to the very last day of
radiotherapy, and the day after,
I did a full day’s work. And I’ve been working full-time
ever since.
I really don’t think I would have
been able to continue working
if I hadn’t have used cannabinoids. I’m, well, I’m ready whenever
you guys are.
Today Phil gets the results
of his scan. This is the CBD oil. It kind of tastes like,
eurgh, vegetable oil.
Babe, don’t worry, because whatever
happens, even if it was bad news…
..there is a lot of… extra things I can do. I know. I would rather be illegally alive,
than legally dead.
And that’s the way
my whole family feels.
This is a life and death
situation here.
Andy, Phil and Jeff were all telling
me cannabis was a powerful medicine, but if this is the case,
why is it illegal? The government says the drug has no
recognised therapeutic value. I spoke to Dr William Notcutt, a hospital consultant who has run
trials into cannabis treatment for multiple sclerosis
and pain relief. Is there any evidence for cannabis?
Does it actually work? There is a huge amount of evidence
that it does work.
This book shows the current evidence
that’s there for cannabis,
from basic science
and also from clinical trials.
I have some good examples of people
with chronic pain problems
who’ve been through
all the standard remedies,
and with the use of a cannabis
extract, have been able to achieve
good quality pain relief. You sort of get to play doctor,
really, don’t you? I really, really don’t like
the doctor term.
Main reason being, I have no medical
qualifications whatsoever.
I’m not a clinician. And I would much, much prefer it
if the UK law was changed
so doctors and pharmacies
could do what I’m doing.
Then I wouldn’t have to be
a criminal,
and these parents wouldn’t have to
act in a criminal manner either.
I’ve met a man who gives medicinal
cannabis oil to the parents of sick children. Is that safe?
Should he be doing that? I haven’t a clue. I don’t know what he’s giving. Cannabis itself
is a very complex plant.
If you take an extract of cannabis, it has 400-plus different
compounds in it.
So, unless I know what is
actually on the label,
how active it is,
and so on like that,
I have no idea, as a doctor, whether it’s going to be
of use or not –
and until we get proper clinical
trials going
on these sort of things, all we are going to have
is just anecdotal evidence.
And I’ve known patients
who’ve been on such oils
who have gone and died
soon afterwards.
I just don’t have
the answers for this at the moment.
At the end of the day, you are providing an illegal
substance to these parents. Are you just a drug dealer? No. In spite of all the evidence
and experience you’ve got, you are still giving these oils
that are illegal. They’ve got the THC,
you’re giving them to parents. Fair enough, you’re not making any
money from them… No, no, nothing material, anyway. But when a parent contacts me,
they’ve generally made the decision
that they are going to give
cannabis oil to their child
because they believe it is the
child’s only chance of survival.
So, it’s a decision I have then, I can say,
“No, I’m not going to help you,”
or, “Yes, I can provide the oil,”
and if I don’t do that,
or my buddies don’t do that, then these parents aren’t going
to stop and give up.
They are then going to continue
on the internet,
like some of the parents
who have been conned and scammed
out of thousands of pounds –
and receiving substandard oil.
Our oils are tested…
HIS PHONE RINGS
Excuse me.
WOMAN:‘Hello.’Hi. ‘Hi, Jeff. How are you?’
I’m OK. How are you? ‘I’m very well, thank you.’ Good.‘I’m calling about my father.’ ‘He’s been battling cancer
for almost eight years now.’
OK.‘And he’s had numerous
conventional treatments,
‘and he’s now at the point where
they said they think he’s terminal.
‘Since I had him on this oil
that I’ve purchased,
‘I feel like he’s gone downhill. ‘I’m so scared at the minute
that I might have poisoned my dad
‘and that I’ve made things worse. ‘And, to be honest, I don’t really
know where to turn.’
Oh, bless you. Um… I wish…‘Sorry.’
It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s just that… It’s unlikely to have done him
any harm, but…
..it’s impossible for me to rule
that out,
because obviously we don’t know the
source of this oil,
how it’s been made… ‘No. Of course. ‘The alternative specialist
that we’ve seen…’
SHE SNIFFS ‘..has said that she thinks
the cancer is spreading now.
‘Quite rapidly. ‘I don’t know how much longer
he’s got.’
That’s OK, darling. I can send it
off to the lab I use in Spain,
at Valencia University,
who test my extracts,
so we can find out exactly
what’s in it.
‘OK.’ We’ll do what we can. ‘Thank you very much.’ OK, you take care.
‘OK, thank you. You too. Bye.’Bye. It’s OK. I’m just going to…
I’m going to have to clear my head.
I’ll be back in a minute. He’s really mad. Her dad is dying, and she’s going
to do whatever it takes to keep him alive for a bit longer,
and… I think, for me, and certainly for
Jeff, just to hear her saying, “I don’t know if I’ve poisoned
my father, “I don’t know if I’ve shortened
his days”, I think… I think that’s tragic. How do you navigate through,
you know, this online… ..medicinal cannabis world? You can’t. You can’t,
and that’s the problem with it.
This is a useful medicine, it’s a valuable medicine
in clinical practice today,
and it’s a scandal that we are
so slow at moving forward
with a medicine that’s very safe, when it’s used in properly
controlled amounts.
Jeff is going to meet the woman
who phoned him two weeks ago. He wants to see the oil
she was sold. So we used this for a little while, and it really wasn’t doing anything,
so that’s why it’s still…
there’s still a lot in there.
Because we just stopped it.
OK. Unfortunately, the people who
are often involved online,
they fall into two categories
in my mind.
There’s the people who are
well-meaning, and should shut up.
And there are people who are just
down and out scammers and conmen.
We’ve tested some oils that people
have bought to treat cancer
and we’ve actually found it contains
zero cannabinoids.
What I’d like to do, if it’s OK with
you, is take half a gram of this,
and then I’ll send that off
to Valencia University
and have it analysed…OK, yeah. ..and find out exactly what’s in it.
OK. And some cancer sufferers
believe that, you know, medicinal cannabis is helping
to cure them. Is there any research
to back this up? There’s clinical trials
already going on,
on a particularly difficult type
of cancer to treat – brain cancer
called a glioblastoma. There is good evidence, also,
in other types of cancer…
..that the activity of the cancer
cells is modified
by the use of cannabinoids – but it’s not been translated into, really, into
significant clinical practice.
So the patient is left
with a problem…
..that they may have come to the end
of standard chemotherapy
and find, you know, what else
is there, out there?
I, myself, have been approached by
many patients
to say, “Look, I bought this
cannabis oil on the internet.
“How much do I need to cure me
of my cancer?”
And I have to say, “Well, I don’t
really know what you’re taking,
“what its effect is going to be, “how much of the cannabis that
you’ve got in that bottle of oil
“is going to be of use to you,
or anything like that,
“because it’s not been worked up
as a medicine.”
Yes! It was better than good results. How do you feel?Tears of joy. Yeah?Yeah. The good news is, on the MRI,
there’s no sign of disease.
A couple of months ago I was told
that I was going to die young.
This is a very aggressive cancer
that I’ve got,
and there’s nothing I can really do to avoid a nasty end. Love you. If you leave the milk out,
it goes off.
OK. You said that you’ve seen a
difference, and you have a son, he’s also seen a difference?Yeah. Can you just tell me what he
was like with the medication and what he’s like
after he has cannabis? He had dad at home,
but dad wasn’t here.
So… He would describe it as
having a shell.
And it’s there,
but it doesn’t do anything.
It was always me taking him out,
taking him to school,
it was me out in the playground. He’d never got that until
Andy started using cannabis.
This is the only thing I do
in my life that’s illegal.
It helped improve the relationship
with my son,
because, even if I’m really ground
down from pain,
I can still find that ten minutes
for that chat that he needs,
that he can’t talk to his mum about. I’m going to push you out of bed. Don’t, because I can’t get up! Exactly!What do you want to watch? I don’t really care.
You’d be like a turtle.
Except for the part where you
wouldn’t be able to move at all.
What do you want? Copycat Killers? I’ll tell you what,
they’ve got the Tupac one.
Really?Remember?Yeah.
You wanted to watch Tupac. On opiates, he’s got even less
chance of that.
You know, opiates,
it’s like alcohol,
it’s not conducive to a family life. He was the true working man’s poet. TUPAC:I’ve been wondering
why death rates are going up
and suicide is going up. More kids are being handed crack
than they’re being handed diplomas.
I think that rich people should
live like poor people
and poor people should live
like rich people,
and they should change every week. And you would say that before
cannabis and after cannabis is a total..? Yeah, it is polar opposites,
really.
How so?
Like, he’s just a lot happier. He’s more…
He can do more stuff, like,
he tries to cling on to the little
things like putting a T-shirt on.
Because with his shoulders
and everything like that,
it’s impossible,
but because of the medical cannabis
it gives him the will to do it. I guess it’s just, like, better for
the whole family
because we are all just less
stressed
and we are all more relaxed. The only thing you really need in
your life is family.
If something is legal,
I’d rather take the legal option,
any time of the week. I don’t want
that fear of prosecution.
It’s degrading, that worry. Because you’re doing something to
help your pain, and to help…
..your family from breaking apart, because being disabled is a great
strain on family life.
What do you think of cannabis? Do you see it as, sort of,
a medicine? Or do you see it as an illegal drug? I see it as a medicine, but I can
also see why it’s an illegal drug,
because if you don’t understand it,
you just get high on it,
but I don’t think people should be
persecuted
for wanting to help their illnesses. People think it’s hard for the
disabled person, but it’s not.
It’s far harder for the family
of the disabled.
And that’s the aspect I find the
hardest to deal with, mentally,
I find it the most upsetting. I know it’s illegal, but it gets to the stage where you
think, “Society can judge me,
“I don’t care.”

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