Advocacy Group Launched to Help UK Patients Access Medical Cannabis

The patient advocacy organisation is aimed at providing support and advice for patients considering marijuana as a healthcare option.

We note that the subject contained in this article represents illegal activity in certain jurisdictions. Whilst we do not condone any acts which are contrary to any such laws, we understand that readers in those jurisdictions which have decriminalised cannabis may find this article of interest.

The group is known as the Cannabis Patient Advocacy & Support Services (CPASS) and was recently launched at The Royal College of Nursing.

The CPASS is led by the former UK Health Minister and Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and Queens Nursing Institute, Ann Keen, who is currently launching the nurses' arm of the organisation, which will be working with healthcare providers and charity groups to assist patients with long term conditions.

As part of its patient outreach program, CPASS will begin offering confidential advice to people who wish to learn more about consumption methods and safe usage.

We all want the same goal, but we end up disagreeing how to get there. Nurses, like doctors, may have anxieties about getting in trouble and doing the wrong thing and to do no harm but also wanting to help people. We have to understand everyone's instinctive critical anxieties and ask how to work together, instead of being an us versus them. Consultant Psychiatrist and Advisory Board Member to CPASS, Dr Derek Tracy

Patients will also be able to ask the organisation questions about their specific condition, and how to go about access medicinal cannabis.

The chair of the CPASS, Ann Keen, explained that her values as a, "Registered Nurse are about having justice and equality of care for all patients."

"As a former community District Nursing Sister, I am aware that today's Nurses require education and training to inform and support the patient and family with the best knowledge that we have, with the most up to date understanding of cannabis-based medicinal products."

"Nurses must be at the centre of policy development, using their knowledge as Specialist Nurses to be the patients advocate and continue to research and produce evidence as to how we can join with other countries and share knowledge within this innovative pathway to care," Keen said.

The organisation has also issued a call to clinical nurse specialists who wish to take part in medicinal marijuana training and education programs, which was prompted by the recent publication of data showing that millions of UK citizens are medicating chronic health conditions with cannabis obtained on the black market.

Nurses and patients who are interested in learning more should subscribe to the CPASS mailing list, for further updates on announcements and future training day workshops.

According to the Founding Director to Sprout Behaviour Change and Advisory Board Member to CPASS, Dr Lina Eliasson, the launch of CPASS will clear the path "for evidence-based training and information for nurses to enable confident and informed conversations with individuals who can benefit from these products."

"I hope other medical Royal Colleges and Faculties follow suit to ensure that all healthcare professionals are appropriately informed."

"This would reduce the stigma still attached to using cannabis-based medical products as well as facilitate the implementation of safe and effective processes for prescription and supply of medical cannabis to those in need."

"I salute the Royal College of Nursing for taking the lead amongst professional healthcare bodies to support medical cannabis reform in the UK," Eliasson said.

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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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