WE must fight to legalise cannabis for the sake of improving our lives.
That was the message yesterday from people with a range of health problems who revealed that taking the drug means they are not left in constant pain.
Patients were given the opportunity to share their experiences during an open discussion on the topic of cannabis legalisation at Fratton Community Centre, in Portsmouth.
Clark French, 29, of Brighton, who was diagnosed with MS five years ago, said taking cannabis has eased the chronic pain that comes with the disease.
He told the audience: ‘MS is an awful disease, it’s horrible, I can’t even bring about the words to explain it.
‘I am in pain all the time.
‘When I use cannabis however, I am in less pain.
‘It doesn’t take the pain away completely, but cannabis gives me a life again and gives me the ability to stand up and share my story.’
Mr French, of United Patients Alliance, which set up the event, added: ‘It’s not right that it is not legal – we need to get together and fight.
‘It’s not cannabis we are fighting for, but our lives.’
Angela Came, 44, of Petersfield, said the drug helps her cope with depression, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘I didn’t start taking it until after I was diagnosed and I didn’t start taking it regularly until two years ago,’ she said.
Mel Clarke, 53, of Southsea, who has MS, said smoking cannabis has changed her life whereas painkillers ended up doing more harm.
Mrs Clarke said she first smoked cannabis on a trip to Amsterdam.
Alex Fraser, 24, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 19, said while critics may feel he should just take legal painkillers, they make his condition worse.
‘There are a lot of things I can’t eat, I can’t drink, there’s a whole list. And I know that what I do eat, it’s still going to be hard,’ he said.
‘If I smoke a joint or smoke a joint after a meal, I feel so much better.’