Overview of submission
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) is inviting written submissions from the public to inform their views on medicinal cannabis. This is an opportunity for people with direct experience of the impact of medicinal cannabis to make their voices heard by doctors who will be making recommendations for government policy.
The voice of patients must be absolutely central to this process.
RCPsych has specifically asked to hear from patients with experience of medicinal cannabis. For this reason, we strongly feel a submission in your own name is the most powerful way to make your voice heard by lawmakers. If, however, you would prefer to submit anonymously and we know you may have very good reasons to, then there is guidance about making an anonymous submission below.
The submission is first and foremost a chance for you to tell doctors at RCPsych about your own personal experience with medicinal cannabis. To help you do so, we have prepared some guideline questions below to guide your submission. You do not have to answer every one, and the word counts are just a guide. The main point is for you to tell your story in your own words.
How to make a submission
The only personal detail you will be asked to provide on the form is your name. You can put CannPASS or leave the ‘Organisation’ box blank. On the form you have the option of keeping the submission private if you do not want your name to be used.
Alternatively if you would prefer to submit anonymously then you can share your completed form with email@example.com making sure you include no identifying information. CannPASS will then make an anonymous submission on your behalf, without your name attached.
If you decide to submit anonymously, it would be very helpful to explain in your submission why you feel you have to remain anonymous, so that the doctors understand how difficult it is for some patients to speak out on this issue.
The RCPsych call for evidence includes both recreational and medical use of cannabis. We strongly recommend that you only answer questions concerning your own experience with medical cannabis.
The following questions would particularly benefit from a patient perspective. To help you in answering them, we have included a number of other specific questions that can guide your responses. These questions are a guide only. Do not worry about the specific wording of the question, the most important thing is to tell your story in a way that you are comfortable with.
Section 1: Recreational cannabis
***N.B. Even though this section is titled recreational cannabis, your answers should be about your experience with medicinal cannabis***
Part 1C: Criminalisation of cannabis
3. What evidence is there for the different ways people are affected following criminalisation?
- How has the criminalisation of cannabis use adversely affected your quality of life as a user of medicinal cannabis?
- Does criminalisation of recreational cannabis create a stigma for users of medicinal cannabis?
- Does the criminalisation of cannabis affect your ability to talk about your treatment with your friends or colleagues?
Part 1D: Marginalisation of cannabis users
1. What evidence is there of other forms of marginalisation caused by use of cannabis – exclusion from school, losing jobs, stigma etc.?
- Do you feel there is a stigma attached to medicinal cannabis in the UK?
- Do you think people in the UK are aware of how medicinal cannabis can help in the treatment of conditions such as yours?
- Do you think people in the UK are unclear about the difference between medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis?
- Have you had experience of marginalisation as a result of your cannabis treatment, for example at work or at school?
2. How many people are affected by this and in what way are they affected?
- How has the marginalisation of cannabis users impacted on your life?
- Do you feel able to talk about medicinal cannabis openly with people you meet?
- Has confusion around the difference between recreational and medicinal cannabis
- Do you know other people who are affected by these issues?
Section 2: Medicinal cannabis
Part 2A: Medicinal cannabis products for mental illnesses
1. How strong is the evidence-base for cannabis-based medicinal products for use to treat mental illness? When presenting your evidence, please clarify what mental disorder and what treatment you are referring to.
- Answer this question if: you have experience of using medicinal cannabis to treat a mental illness
- What is your experience of using medicinal cannabis to treat mental illness?
- What has your experience been when seeking prescriptions for medicinal cannabis?
- Have you experienced any negative feedback when seeking information or prescriptions for medicinal cannabis?
2. What action, if any, do you think should be taken by governing bodies and clinicians to reflect this evidence-base?
- How has the regulation of cannabis in the UK impacted your ability to get adequate treatment?
- Do you think the prescription process needs to be made easier for patients?
We hope this guidance helps you with your submission and please let us know you have completed one or if you have any questions we can help with: Email CannPASS
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Basia and Jon – Your CannPASS Team