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Doctors need to learn how to use medicinal cannabis

A LOCAL doctor has moved to explain why there will be a delay in  medical cannabis being prescribed to patients.

Dr Brendan O’Hare from Castlederg was speaking this week as patients  complained that they have been unable to access medicinal cannabis  prescriptions, after laws governing the drug changed on November 1.

Currently only a limited number of patients who stand to benefit from  cannabis will be able to gain access.

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“This is understandable because there is absolutely no expertise  within the UK medical profession when it comes to prescribing cannabis  based products,” Dr O’Hare said. “Doctors are going to need more time  to learn how best medicinal cannabis is going to make a genuine  difference to people’s lives.”

It is believed that medicinal cannabis has the potential to help  thousands of people with conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis  and nausea from cancer treatment.

Locally, the Caldwell family from Castlederg witnessed 12-year-old  Billy Caldwell’s life change dramatically after he was prescribed  medicinal cannabis by doctors in America. Not only has it helped keep  the youngster’s life-threatening epileptic seizures at bay, Billy is  said to be more alert, social and has greater strength and mobility in  his legs.

Last year, Billy became the first person in the UK to be prescribed  cannabis through the NHS. That prescription came from Dr Brendan O’Hare.

“The difference is that Billy’s treatment was already prescribed by  specialists in the US who have extensive experience and knowledge of  medicinal cannabis,” Dr O’Hare explained.

“At the time, my prescription for Billy was a copy of what he had  already been prescribed and which was working.”

He added, “At the minute it’s about allowing people time. For doctors  in the UK, it’s about building a knowledge base on medicinal cannabis  and how it can best benefit people.”

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