Ex-lec­turer be­comes first UK pa­tient to be pre­scribed cannabis

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Tony Diver

A FOR­MER uni­ver­sity lec­turer is be­lieved to be the first pa­tient in the UK to be pre­scribed cannabis by a doc­tor, fol­low­ing the le­gal­i­sa­tion of the drug for med­i­cal use.

Carly Bar­ton, 32, who used to teach fine art, de­vel­oped fi­bromyal­gia, which leaves her in con­stant pain, af­ter a stroke in her early 20s.

For years, she has used cannabis il­le­gally to con­trol her symp­toms. But in a UK first, Ms Bar­ton was pre­scribed medic­i­nal cannabis last month by Dr David McDow­ell, a pri­vate pain spe­cial­ist. The Gov­ern­ment must now au­tho­rise a spe­cial­ist im­porter to pro­cure the drug from the Nether­lands.

The pre­scrip­tion has not been pro­vided on the NHS, and costs £2,500 for a three-month sup­ply.

Cannabis has been le­gal for med­i­cal use since Nov 1 af­ter a pro­tracted bat­tle to down­grade its le­gal sta­tus.

Cam­paign­ers now say that NHS doc­tors are still con­strained by in­terim guide­lines which make it dif­fi­cult for them to pre­scribe the drug.

It is un­der­stood that some doc­tors have put up posters telling pa­tients not to ask them for it.

Al­though Ms Bar­ton has a pre­scrip­tion, a “spe­cials” drug im­porter must now be given a li­cence from the Home Of­fice to legally im­port med­i­cal grade cannabis from an­other coun­try, such as the Nether­lands. It is thought that it may be weeks be­fore she is given her med­i­ca­tion by a phar­macy.

Ms Bar­ton ar­gues that the high cost of her medicine will cre­ate a “two-tier sys­tem”, where most peo­ple will not be able to af­ford cannabis and will have to con­tinue to source the drug il­le­gally.

Speak­ing to The Sun­day Tele­graph, she said: “It’s mo­men­tous that this has hap­pened. It’s the first pre­scrip­tion

Carly Bar­ton is the first per­son in the UK to be pre­scribed med­i­cal mar­i­juana to ease her pain (pre­scrip­tion above is in her maiden name, Meyer). Above, a pack­age of the drug

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