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.
“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.”