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Police raid took my plants for cannabis oil. I’m seriously ill – they've taken my lifeline

Marc* is a 29-year-old linguist, teacher and youth worker. When he turned 13 he was diagnosed with crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition that causes intense pain, severe weight loss, extreme fatigue and loss of sleep. He also suffers from three autoimmune conditions. All are worsened by anxiety.



After years of taking super strength opiates prescribed by his doctor, his condition worsened, leaving him bed-bound and barely able to function. Taking cannabis oil, he says, has given him his life back in an extraordinary way.

Despite the fact the UK is the largest exporter of medicinal cannabis in the world, it is illegal in the UK for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed, or to be obtained, by British citizens. So patients like Marc risk arrest and criminal prosecution when they grow their own at home to ensure quality, rather than leave themselves vulnerable to the unknown substances on the black market.

Last Friday, Marc was raided by armed police. They took his plants, leaving him without months of medicine. Here, he tells Jenn Selby exactly what it has cost him.

It is almost a week since armed police barged into my home – without a warrant – and took my cannabis away from me.

I still feel completely flattened by it. My muscles have cramped from the stress and the anxiety of not knowing where I’m going to get the medicine I need to live from has caused my condition to flare up badly.

I haven’t stopped being sick and I am in extreme pain. I haven’t kept water down since yesterday evening, let alone any food. If this carries on, I will be hospitalised within days.

The raid happened at the worst possible time. It was the night before my sister’s wedding and I was busy writing my best man’s speech. My dad isn’t around any more, so the biggest task of the day had fallen to me and I was nervous to get it right.

I heard banging at the front door
At around 6pm, I heard loud banging on my front door. Terrified, I went to find out what was happening and saw high-vis jackets. I naively opened the door to them, thinking we could talk. There were two armed policemen and three policemen without guns. It seemed extreme.

“What about the cannabis? We can smell it down the street!” they shouted, before aggressively pushing past me, causing me to fall on the stairs. ‘They continued to storm the property, prodding and poking inside cupboards, and riffling through draws’

Luckily, I have a folder bulging with medical notes that detail my use of cannabis as pain relief for various chronic illnesses. I shoved it into their hands and explained exactly how ill I was. I’d had five operations in the last six months, and was nervously awaiting a date for sixth procedure. I needed those plants to survive.

Despite my attempt, they continued to storm the property, prodding and poking inside cupboards, and riffling through draws. They eventually found my grow by kicking down the locked door on a spare room upstairs. They chucked my 15 plants into a black bin bag and left.

They have taken my lifeline
The police didn’t have a warrant, so they were unable to charge me, but the situation the raid has left me in is far worse than any sentence. They have taken away my lifeline.

If I don’t have cannabis oil, my body rejects everything. Cannabis gives me appetite, so I can eat, and relaxes me so I can sleep at night. Sativa strains also help me deal with the intense fatigue I suffer with during the day.

Before I started taking cannabis oil, I was prescribed high strength opiates like morphine, tramadol and dyhydrocodeine. These are as strong and addictive as heroin – and fully available to be prescribed for long-term chronic conditions by the NHS.

The trouble is, not only do they leave you so doped up you can’t function, but they are less effective over time, can actually make pain worse.

Cannabis is the only thing that has worked
For me, there are also the immunosuppressive medicines I have to take. One drug, Humira, was so bad, after my first dose I was no longer able to walk and my housemates had to carry me around the house. Another made the symptoms of my crohn’s disease unbearable. Cannabis is the only thing that works.

I first smoked cannabis recreationally when I was a teenager, and noticed that for once my stomach didn’t hurt any more. However it wasn’t until adulthood that I started to take cannabis more seriously as a medicine. And it changed everything for me; it was like flicking a switch. ‘Suddenly, I could sleep at night, had an appetite to eat, was less in pain and had enough energy to live my life again’

My doctors were amazed that I went from weighing 40kilos to 51kilos. Suddenly, I could sleep at night, had an appetite to eat, was less in pain and had enough energy to live my life again. And it was natural, organic, and didn’t have any of the unpleasant side effects I’d become so used to having to deal with.

Three or four months of good health
I lost about eight weeks of a cycle of growing cannabis. The oil from the grow would have given me a guaranteed three to four months of good health. Now I have just a few grams in the fridge and I’m desperately thinking of how to get some more. I am now relying on the streets and second party people to sort me out. I will have to trust their product, the quality and content of which I can’t be assured of.

The Home Office has said that they are reviewing medicinal cannabis but it has been weeks since the announcement and Parliament is just about to head into a summer recess. Perhaps they need reminding.

This is a desperate situation. Patients don’t have patience. This is not about someone getting high. This is about me being able to eat, me being able to sleep, me staying out of hospital, helping to relieve stress on an already oversubscribed and underfunded NHS. It is about me having a future that doesn’t involve going to prison.

The law as it stands is immoral. The government could decriminalise it overnight and they should. Until they do, patients like me will be forced to act illegally to survive.

*Name has been changed for legal reasons

[source: inews.co.uk / published: July 20. 2018]
 

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