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APPG Launch - Help

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APPG Launch - Help

Information on Launch Event

September is going to be HUGE for 

#

CannabisisMedicine

* 100+ Peers and MPs launch campaign for cannabis as a medicine

#

UPA

 publish Patient Survey

* Top UK Neurologist publishes "game-changing" study of evidence

* (Many More Exciting Details to come)

Facebook Posts/Tweets/etc - ALWAYS and Every one!

  • Follow us on Twitter: @upallianceuk
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Like all our FB posts and tweets
  • Comment on posts/tweets - this spreads the word (much wider)
  • Share posts/Retweet - spreads the word (much much wider)
  • Share posts in other groups you think are appropriate
  • LIKES – Likes are the throwaway gesture of social media. When you like the Page Update. Facebook assigns very little weight to it in the Newsfeed algorithm.
  • COMMENTS – When you comment on a Page Update, Facebook’s Newsfeed gives more weight to comments than likes. 10 TIMES BETTER!
  • SHARES – A share is the brass ring on Facebook. This is huge in terms of exposure, word-of-mouth recommendation, and credibility. Facebook assigns the most weight to shares. 100 TIMES BETTER!

Letter/MP Writing <- Click link for help - Old reason, right actions!

  • Write to your MP
    • BEFORE LAUNCH (Now)
      • Inform of APPG Launch/#EndOurPain #UPA Mike Barnes Medical Report
      • Highlight your own condition/situation
      • Ask for support
      • Ask for Face to Face Meeting
      • AFTER LAUNCH 
        • Highlight launch and all its information/initiatives
        • Highlight your own condition/situation
        • Request support for APPG and #EndOurPain
        • Ask for a statement regarding both/either
        • Ask for Face to Face Meeting
        • Newspapers/Magazines
          • Patient Stories (Pref Public but can be anonymous)
          • Articles (individual or groups?) for publication about the APPG Launch and #EndOurPain 
            • Be supportive, but can suggest that it does not go far enough for you/your group...because.....(GYO, Extracts, Choice/Range, etc.....)
            • "Have your say" sections of newspapers like (Metro, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, etc)
            • Published Articles
              • Share
              • Comment
              • Share your comment

On the day(s)

  • Tweet and post about events/activities 
    • With structure: Hashtags, Memes, Tags, wording
    • Night before launch News at 10 will have a special exclusive segment
    • Launch day will have many activities/media showings etc

Other Activities

  • Help organise UPA UK Tour and Grassroots showings (2 separate events...probably?)
    • Brighton, London, Bristol, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow + any others you would like to suggest
    • Ideas for improving event nights
    • Finding + booking suitable venues
    • Event Admin/Advertising/Leafletting/Posters
    • Recruiting in local area
    • Hosting event in local area
    • Become Regional Admin and recruit local help?
    • Meme Making
      • Ideas for good memes
      • Graphic Design for branded memes (#UPA #APPG #EndOurPain)
      • Video Shorts
        • Short video clips (with branding and subtitles) say 30s on why you choose cannabis for your condition - The more the merrier!
        • Blogging (Need content for brand new website due for launch soon)
          • Writing blogs about almost anything in relation to Cannabis as a Medicine
          • Writing opinion pieces about #UPA #EndOurPain, APPG Launch, Mike Barnes' report, UPA Patient Survey
            • No opinion will be censored but would strongly prefer "supportive" Eg: Brilliant and a great step forward, thanks, blah BUT: Better if, needs that, should be like this because.....etc....
            • Other website content:
              • Guides
                • GYO
                • Care Giver/Community Sharing
                • Extracts
                • Harm Reduction
                • Dosage guide
                • General consumption advice
                • Legal Advice
                • Any other ideas
                • Research for Soundbites from UK based sources
                  • Politicians/Celebrities etc
                  • Search Hansard/TheyWorkForYou

Be a Patient

  • We are always looking for patients willing to speak out publicly and be available for media interviews/events
  • I hate saying this, but it is just TRUE - The more emotional your story, the better. The more debilitating your illness, the better. Wheelchairs/Walking sticks all welcome! The more eloquent you are the better. The more presentable you are, the better - We put patients forward, it is (ALWAYS) the media who select who they want!
  • Particularly looking for:
    • Veterans
    • Medical Professionals
    • Elderly
    • Child
    • Mothers
    • Anyone who can demonstrate "live" the "rapid" impacts of cannabis consumption 
    • Mental Illnesses - Unique Opportunity - Maybe not at launch but v shortly afterwards
      • For the very first time, this campaign will have significant focus on the benefits of cannabis to mental health conditions, especially: PTSD and Anxiety
      • We need willing patients with these or related conditions also with broader/other mental health conditions who get benefit from cannabis to step forwards

There really has been nothing like this happen before. NOW is the time to make a difference. NOW is the time to be heard. NOW is the time to support Cannabis as a Medicine.

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance

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Sky News - Labour Debate - Should Cannabis be Decriminalised?

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Sky News - Labour Debate - Should Cannabis be Decriminalised?

See the debate here:

Sky News Labour Debate

We were really pleased to see that our question on Social Affairs beat Teachers, Dairy Farmers and Fracking to be asked at the final Labour Leadership hustings on Sky News and by quite a margin.

It is rather sad that politicians seem to giggle like school kids every time the topic is raised and perhaps the laughter of the audience was merely the majority remembering the last time they got stoned, but we at United Patients Alliance don't feel that denying sick people a legitimate, effective medicine that vastly improves their quality of life is a laughing matter. It certainly isn’t to the 8000 medical cannabis patients whose voices and stories we represent, nor to the 1 million medical consumers across the UK not to mention the other (under-estimated) 2 million regular cannabis consumers who find they enjoy its effects as an alternative to other, more dangerous drugs such as alcohol. So for at least 3 million people in this country it is a very important issue in our lives and being that is more than people who regularly attend church, I think that makes us a very significant voice that has the right to be heard.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham got to answer the question first and opened with “There is a case for it” pointing out that for sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis; “The benefits are enormous!” All of our MS patients would whole heartedly agree, Andy, not least our founder Clark French who has been living with the debilitating disease from the age of 24. 

Cannabis reduces my pain, inflammation and spasms. Helps me get an appetite, stops my bladder weakness and helps me sleep, Cannabis allows me to forget the trauma of chronic illness and allows happiness into my life.

Andy recognised the difficulty in regulating medical cannabis over recreational and pointed out some genuine concerns and suggested we “proceed with caution” and look very carefully at relaxing the rules for medical use.

Whilst this is really positive from Andy and we applaud his courage in presenting a pragmatic and compassionate approach it must not be forgotten that medical cannabis patients are suffering today and are constantly under the threat of criminalisation, so we would urge him to consider the significant benefits of immediate decriminalisation. Let’s just stop criminalising patients. We already have more evidence of its safety and efficacy for many conditions today from around the world than for most approved medications on the market.

The first thing Yvette Cooper pointed out was that they had never been asked that question at any previous hustings. Glad to be of service, Yvette. It was unfortunate that she chose to answer a completely different question about our processes for approving medicines in this country, so I was not able to determine whether she believes that we should stop criminalising patients for choosing to consume a medicine that helps them. I must assume that she didn't really want to answer the question. Great politician?

Liz Kendall also called for more research into cannabis whilst accepting that many people are reporting benefits right now, however I suspect she fails to understand that getting medicinal cannabis researched and approved in a country that defines it in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs act 1971 as having no therapeutic applications and high potential for abuse, in contrast to all the most recent peer reviewed scientific evidence on the subject is rather difficult “Normal processes” just don’t work for cannabis. Perhaps she would commit to helping us out here?

Then came Jeremy Corbyn.  Oh Jeremy you lovely man!  I have to admit to literally applauding his response:  

“I don’t think there should be criminalisation of something that is used for medicinal purposes, it is obviously beneficial to many people, particularly those suffering from MS, and I think we should be adult and grown up about this in society and decriminalise.”

I have nothing to add, other than “Here, Here!” and "Thank-you Jeremy"

It is great to see this really important issue being discussed in an intelligent, pragmatic and compassionate way and Labour do seem more up to date in their attitudes than our current government but they still have a long way to go; Andy Burnham has “got it”, but needs to be braver, Liz Kendall needs a little more encouragement and information and needs to learn a little more about the practical implications of its current status in Schedule 1 of the MODA, Yvette needs to take this issue more seriously on behalf of the 1 million people suffering today, and Jeremy, well – “He’s our man”

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance

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Cannabis Community and Solidarity

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Cannabis Community and Solidarity

I think we are all reasonably comfortable with the idea that there is a significant correlation between mental health and cannabis. The argument that remains is in the nature of that correlation. Most (if not all) of us are in little doubt that people who suffer from a variety of mental health problems find that cannabis helps them. Consumption of cannabis, in this case, is effective self-medication.

 

If you accept this premise, then logically one can conclude that in a wide community of cannabis consumers and moreover a community of cannabis activists/campaigners will inevitably contain a high proportion of people who suffer from mental health problems.  Add to that those that live with chronic physical problems plus all those who have been treated unfairly, vilified, persecuted, threatened, insulted, arrested, abused, supressed and generally made to feel “pushed to the fringes” for what adds up to a personal choice, then is it any wonder then that our community contains so many personalities, egos, agendas, angles, experiences, attitudes, approaches and beliefs?

 

That is a lot of angry, frustrated, sensitive and irritable people in one community. It is also not surprising that many within the community take their part in the cause deeply personally and can feel threatened by challenges, criticisms and/or alternatives. As a result things boil over too frequently, too loudly, too personally and most unfortunately too publicly. People act like people do, then other people get offended and over reach their response and you have a perfectly vicious little circle. There’s conspiracy and paranoia, suspicion and accusation. Not surprising, perhaps, given all the above, however it damages us all and when I see it, I can’t help but feel disappointed and a little deflated. 

 

We are all flawed characters; none of us are perfect (most of us, far from it – and yes, I am speaking for myself!) and isn’t one of the things that we are all passionately fighting about; being judged without reason, truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth and yet we do it to each other.  I’m not saying that challenges should not be made or that inappropriate behaviour should not be called out, but as people, I would have hoped that we could all show rather more empathy and be more supportive of each other and as a group we need a professional and credible public face to be effective and there is no way that this is going to happen whilst ever we can be seen to be focused on attacking each other.

 

There is one thing that ALL of us agree on. It is the single thing that has brought us together to fight for something that we all passionately believe in – the reasons why are interesting but ultimately unimportant.  The effectiveness of each of our individual methods is up for (respectful) debate, but ultimately isn’t it the goal that counts?

 

“Legal access to Cannabis for Adults, Medicinal Cannabis for all”

 

So, next time someone from within our community does something/says something/produces something (or reacts to something) and you don’t like it, before you make a judgement, try to remember how YOU would like to be judged by our criminal justice system and apply the same criteria to your own judgement AND before you publicly (re)react, stop for a minute and with compassion, think about whether, for our common goals, your anger, energy and resources are best directed at an ally in our fight or at our common enemy? If you chose the former over the latter, then aren't you running the risk of being part of the problem rather than the solution?

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance

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My Response to The Mail Online

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My Response to The Mail Online

 

Original Article Here

Scientists show that unless you smoke a great deal of the strongest strains of cannabis every day from the age of 15 there is NO SIGNIFICANT INCREASE in risk of psychosis or other mental disorders.

  • Researchers highlight the dangers of synthetic cannabis such as “Spice” whereas natural cannabis has anti-psychotic properties
  • A study found that only those who have a predisposition to mental illness, start at 15 or under, smoke strong strains, daily, heavily and for many years have any significant increase in risk of psychosis
  • Regulated and quality controlled cannabis carries no significant increased risk and has been seen to help with mental illness

BY JON LIEBLING WHO LISTENED TO AND READ THE SAME INFORMATION AS STEPHEN ADAMS FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

Published 18:00 15 February 2015

The study, leaked and completely misinterpreted by the Mail on Sunday ahead of its publication to the Lancet, a journal for medically qualified and intelligent readers, so they can attempt again to reignite the Reefer Madness lies and misinformation campaign of the 1930s against cannabis.

The Mail on Sunday understood that certain strains of cannabis were responsible for up to 25% of new cases of psychotic mental illness, but have missed all the important information that, in fact, this is limited to a tiny proportion of the general population who start smoking at age 15 or younger and have a predisposition to mental illness often through a family history and/or certain genetic markers or from certain birth traumas such as hypoxia or being born prematurely.

In addition they would have to be smoking the drug as opposed to other methods of ingestion and they would also have to be taking large quantities on a daily basis over many years for the increase risk to be significant, making it potentially one of the safest psychoactive substances known to man and certainly safer than alcohol or nicotine which are both far easier to prove are linked to increased risk of mental illness.

Both Professor Robin Murray and, The Mail on Sunday, have completely misunderstood the meaning of the term “Skunk” which actually refers to one of about 100 subsets of strains that contain high THC. Experts in this field will tell you that it is actually the ratio between THC and CBD and not the strength per say that has been seen to produce this tiny increase of risk to a tiny proportion of the general population.

Whilst for the sake of clarity I will continue to use the incorrect term “Skunk” you can find much more detailed and accurate information on what “Skunk” is here

According to Crime Survey figures for England and Wales, over a million youngsters aged 16 to 24 smoke cannabis. But the vast majority of these consumers are not at risk. Experts warn, however, that whilst cannabis in its natural form appears to have few if any negative consequences, synthetic forms of cannabis which have been created recently to circumnavigate the ridiculous law is far more potent and potentially damaging to mental and physical health.

Cases of severe psychosis related directly to these synthetic forms of cannabis such as “Spice” have increased from 80 in 2009 to 12000 in 2012 and now have their own name within the Psychiatric community: Spice-o-phrenia

The researchers, led by a team at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London, conclude there is an 'urgent need to inform young people about the risks of synthetic cannabis' and reading between the lines; 'until the world realises that drug laws need to be reviewed against scientific evidence and cannabis in its natural form is legalised' 

The findings will add substance to a 2010 report by the Journal of Schizophrenia Research, which found that schizophrenic patients with a history of cannabis consumption demonstrate higher levels of cognitive performance compared to non-consumers. Researchers in that study concluded, “The results of the present analysis suggest that cannabis consumption in patients with schizophrenia is associated with better performance on measures of processing speed and verbal skills. These data are consistent with prior reports indicating that schizophrenia patients with a history of cannabis consumption have less severe cognitive deficits than schizophrenia patients without cannabis consumption.”

A 2011  meta-analysis published online by the journal Schizophrenia Research also affirmed that schizophrenics with a history of cannabis consumption demonstrate “superior neurocognitive performance” compared to non-consumers. Investigators at the University of Toronto, Institute of Medical Sciences reviewed eight separate studies assessing the impact of marijuana consumption on cognition, executive function, learning, and working memory in schizophrenic subjects. Researchers determined that the results of each of the performance measurements suggested “superior cognitive functioning in cannabis-consuming patients as compared to non-consuming patients.” Little wonder, perhaps, that the UK firm, GW Pharmaceuticals who produce 200 Tonnes of raw cannabis under government license and whose sole purpose is to exploit the huge potential for medicinal benefits of cannabis and hold 40 patents for other indications have patented cannabis’ anti-psychotic properties for the treatment of psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.

This report was chaired by schizophrenia expert Professor Sir Robin Murray, who also played a key part in the new study. It looked at cannabis use in two groups, each containing about 400 people, from 2005 to 2011. Those in the first group had all suffered 'first-episode psychosis'– a diagnosed first occurrence of the disorder. Oddly there is no data available regarding the recorded triggers for their psychosis, which would have been very useful in determining whether cannabis could be implicated.

The second group were volunteers who agreed to answer questions about themselves – including on cannabis use and mental health history – for a study. Some said they had suffered psychosis, others said not. They were not told the nature of the project and no evidence of the veracity of those data were recorded.

The academics found those in the first group were more likely to smoke cannabis daily – and to smoke “skunk” – than those in the second. The researchers say: 'Skunk use alone was sought by 24 per cent of adults presenting with first-episode psychosis to the psychiatric services in South London.' It is highly likely, however, that this would be in an effort to ameliorate the onset of their symptoms.

The latest research, to be published in The Lancet, concludes: 'Only those 15yrs old or under who used excessive amounts of the strongest forms of cannabis every day for a number of years and had a predisposition for mental illness were more likely to have a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder.' But the research appears also showed that natural forms of cannabis with a narrower THC/CBD ratio had no significant increased risk even in such patients.

It can be concluded that other factors such as living in a city, being a migrant, having genetic markers, a family history of mental illness and/or traumas experienced at birth such as hypoxia and premature birth constitute a far more significant increase in risk. Research has found, for instance, that compared to those born at term, babies born before 32 weeks of gestation were 7.4 times more likely to have bipolar disorder, 2.9 times more likely to suffer from depression and 2.5 times more likely to experience psychosis. 

Professor Sir Robin Murray was keen to point out, however, that even this research must be treated with caution as the factor of tobacco smoking with cannabis for which we already have far clearer link to increased risk of psychosis was not taken into account.

Tobacco use before, at, and after first-episode psychosis: a systematic meta-analysis.

He added that it is not really similar, for instance, to the increased risk of lung cancer from smoking tobacco which stands at a factor of 10 to 15 times, whereas cannabis even limited to the tiny proportion of people who might be exposed to this increased risk, the impact was only 2 or 3 times more likely. “Some people are just unlucky with their genes which makes them more vulnerable across the board to developing psychosis. It looks as if, starting before 15 increases the risk which might be because the brain is still developing and all sort of changes are happening in your dopamine and cannabinoid receptors, but people who started at 18 had a minimal (insignificant) increase in risk”

“It is important to understand that this is also dose related like alcohol. Most people drink sensibly and never have any issues, which is the same with cannabis.  It’s the people who drink something like a bottle of whisky a day or it’s the people who smoke 5 or 6 joints of high potency cannabis every day that get into trouble. The increase in strength of cannabis which people talk about is merely like the difference between lager and whisky.  It is basically the same stuff but more concentrated. However  it is a little more complicated because cannabis contains not just THC but there is also another substance, CBD which seems to have an ameliorating function.”

Most of the cannabis available before prohibition which forced the cultivation and distribution into the hands of criminals with a single profit motive, had the same amount of THC and CBD but modern “Skunk” has 16-20% and almost no CBD as this produces more of the “high” that recreational consumers are looking for, however CBD seems to counteract the psychotic effect of THC. As such a market where the strain, quality, strength and THC/CBD ratio of the substance can be regulated and assured would significantly reduce if not eliminate the harms and risks.

Michael Ellis, a Tory member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, got all of this completely upside down, ignored all the actual science and ignorantly stated: 'This powerful new study illustrates that those in government and the police must be careful to send out the right message. Cannabis isn't a harmless drug: it can ruin lives.' We have asked where the Tory minister got the idea that anyone has ever said cannabis was a harmless drug but was no longer available for comment.

Professor David Nutt said that it really is time that we leave decisions on relative harms of substances in the hands of experts and scientists rather than in the hands of politicians who know nothing "They do not want a discussion on drugs for a number of reasons. One is they'd lose the argument. The second is that senior Tories have got rather spectacularly interesting drug histories."

https://news.vice.com/article/uk-does-not-want-to-discuss-drug-law-realities-says-former-chief-adviser

He also added that “Studying the side-effects of recreational drugs (instead of banning them) on mental well being could help to unblock the logjam preventing much-needed psychiatric medicines from being developed

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/professor-david-nutt-scientists-should-look-into-illegal-drugs-positive-sideeffects-9856746.html

Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds

“I HAVE BENEFITED ALL MY LIFE FROM TAKING CANNABIS” 

Jon Liebling (pictured) believes his mental health issues have been effectively managed using cannabis

Former IT Manager Jon Liebling, 47, from Berkshire knows first hand the amazing benefits of cannabis for the management of symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with the terrifying experience of being put onto anti-depressant drugs by his doctor. “When I was arrested which forced me to stop taking cannabis and was prescribed various medications such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) the feelings of anxiety and depression returned and I started to have suicidal thoughts which I had never experienced before. Yes the Prozac made me happy, but it made me happy with suicidal thoughts! This scared me nearly literally to death and I felt I had no choice but to stop using these dangerous prescription medications and go back to taking cannabis, which I had taken since my early 20s. Unfortunately this means that I am breaking the law again, but what am I supposed to do. My health is more of a priority than a law that prevents me from taking a medicine derived from a natural plant that actually works and has no unwanted side-effects. I am sure my wife and daughter would agree. I am now fine and happy that I have stopped using prescription medications. Cannabis is one of the main reasons that I am still alive.

Read more detail about

Me, Cannabis and the Law

@jliebling

@UPAllianceUK

United Patients Alliance

Does Cannabis Affect Mental Illness:

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