Tomorrow kicks off the start of the annual Medical Cannabis Awareness Week (1-7 November) for 2022. Scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the 2018 law change that kickstarted legal access to medical cannabis in the UK, MCAW raises awareness around the ongoing need for improved patient access.
On November 1st 2018, the UK government announced that specialist doctors would finally be permitted to grant medical cannabis prescriptions to patients with a number of health conditions. This news was embraced by drug reform advocates, patients, and their families alike; however, four years on, little has changed within the public sector. With only three whole-plant medical cannabis prescriptions having been granted through the National Health Service, the vast majority of patients are forced to access their medicine through private clinics. This can mean significant personal costs, which for many is simply not possible.
A number of events will take place across the week – all with an aim to increase public awareness of the difficulties faced by patients and their families. One such event is the first Medical Cannabis Patient Conference, hosted by Drug Science and MedCan Support.
The conference will offer the chance for medical cannabis patients and prescribers to come together and celebrate the progress made so far. The daytime event will also be open to the general public and anyone interested in learning more about cannabis-based medicines.
Drug Science says of the scheduled conference: “… We hope to bridge the wide gap between the cannabis industry and recreational-focused events. It is intended to become an annual get-together for our community that will help put Medical Cannabis Awareness Week, on the world’s radar.”
If you want to learn more about the Medical Cannabis Patient Conference and to get your tickets, visit Eventbrite.
The Medical Cannabis Patient Conference is just one of a whole selection of events that will be taking place from 1-7 November. The events will feature speakers from within the medical cannabis industry, drug reform movements, and medical cannabis patients themselves. The week-long event is presented by PLEA – an organisation that champions Patient-Led Engagement for Access:
“This year’s Medical Cannabis Awareness Week is a celebration of what has been achieved for patients in the UK so far, whilst highlighting what still needs to take place to overcome continued issues.
We’ve got a range of panels with experts discussing different aspects of the industry from paediatric epilepsy to women’s health, to the barriers still facing patients to the future of cannabis cultivation.
PLEA hopes this week is an opportunity to bridge the gap between patients and the industry to discuss these issues and hopefully raise awareness amongst the cannabis-curious.”
All conferences and events are free to attend to all. Furthermore, recordings will be available to watch back at a later date, making resources as accessible as possible. See below for the full schedule for Medical Cannabis Awareness Week 2022:
Tuesday 1st November, 6:00 – 7:30 pm: Medical Cannabis Research on Paediatric Epilepsy Panel
Wednesday 2nd November, 6:00 – 7:30 pm: Women’s Health Panel
Thursday 3rd November, 6:00 – 7:30 pm: Barriers to Access
Friday 4th November, 10:30 am- 6:30 pm: UK Patient Conference
Saturday 5th November, 12:00 – 1:30 pm: The Future of Cannabis Cultivation
Sunday 6th November, 6:00 – 7:30 pm: Industry Insights
Monday 7th November, 6:00 – 7:30 pm: Condition Conversations
Despite being legal in the UK for four years, many patients remain unaware that medical cannabis is legal. A recent survey by UK cannabis clinic Mamedica found that over 60% of the British public didn’t know that any form of cannabis was legal in the UK. This statistic is likely linked to the restricted availability of medical cannabis products on the NHS and the lack of public education available on the subject.
PLEA and other contributors to Medical Cannabis Awareness Week 2022 hope that the annual event will continue to raise awareness and push policymakers in the UK to further patient access to these potentially life-saving medicines. Past events have featured over 50 speakers and 1500 live attendees with talks and conferences also reaching over 60,000 people.
To find out more about how you can get involved, visit the Medical Cannabis Awareness 2022 event page.