It was a long tiring day to Preston and back - BUT - What a fabulous and worthwhile trip and great to work together with Medical Marijuana Genetics
Miles, Nathan and I met up in the Old Vic Pub, where I used work around 28 years ago (hasn't changed!) for a bit of courage and preparation, just across the road from Lancashire County Hall where we were about to meet the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board after reports of their Bitesize Briefing - Understanding the effects and risks of cannabis use appeared in the press a couple of weeks ago.
As you might imagine, this announcement created a wave of concerns and displeasure amongst many in the cannabis reform world who understandably feared that this would be yet another case of scare-mongering and misinformation, however, it became pretty clear, pretty quickly that absolutely none of those fears were necessary and, in fact, we left thanking them and praising them for all the efforts they were making to tell the real truth and indeed firmly and actively challenge the reefer-madness type myths. (And sensationalist headlines, of which this was a bit of a victim here!)
Their priorities are Safeguarding Children and the truth.
This initiative was prompted from a survey they ran, after 2 recent child deaths, where problematic cannabis use of one or both parents was sited as a factor. The survey asked the question "What do you know about cannabis?" - 80% of those involved in Safeguarding who received the survey responded "Not enough - We need to learn more". In fact the majority said the only thing they really know about cannabis, is the smell! Shocking!
Currently, social workers have to identify all potential risk-factors on their client records and if cannabis is seen/smelt/admitted - on it goes - with no supporting information about the nature of the consumption as no one knows enough to be able to tell the difference.
The Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board readily recognise and accept that around 95% of their issues are in relation to the problematic use of other substances such as cocaine and heroin and most especially, alcohol, however, that still leaves another 5% for problematic cannabis use which must be covered, but is kept well in perspective
The training course itself contains accurate and up to date information about the risks associated with problematic cannabis use and High THC/Low CBD street weed and challenges sensationalist reporting on both sides of the argument. It has information on CBD and how there is evidence that it may help with anxiety and other symptoms. They are providing harm reduction and safer consumption advice.
They will be having a good look at the pages on our website to see if there are any improvements that can be made:
They have commissioned advice, information and assistance both in the production of the course and on wider initiatives such as Drug Testing facilities and initiatives from all the right places, most notably, perhaps, from Professor Fiona Measham, Director of The Loop through whom they have spoken with their local Police and Crime Commissioner, the local health authority and social services and they really feel that within the limits allowed for an agency working within the law that they want to be at the forefront of future drug policy.
Most importantly, for us, they are looking forward to further collaborations and communications on this and are happy to share the course slides and notes shortly, which we will publish online when we have them.
They are also delighted that our Patients at Parliament Protest in support of our Patron, Paul Flynn MP's #ElizabthBriceBill for medical access on Feb 23rd will be focusing of Families and on Safer Consumption (we will be giving away a whole load of Top quality CBD loaded vape pens on the day!
We went into this meeting, expecting difficulties and challenges. With ALL concerns addressed and in addition some unexpected ideas for us to draw from this initiative - we left feeling relieved and excited for the future.
And, I hope, we made some new friends in our fight for legal access to cannabis therapeutics and the reduction of harm. We encourage anyone who has the opportunity to benefit from this course. Thank you and very well done to Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board.
Jon Liebling - 8th Feb 2018