A young British woman says she was laughed out of a pharmacy after presenting what she says was the first script in the UK for medicinal cannabis
UK woman Carly Barton, 32, is reportedly the first person in the UK to get a medicinal cannabis prescription since these became available from 1 November.
Ms Barton explains she used to be a university lecturer until she had a stroke in 2011, which led to the development of the painful condition fibromyalgia.
Doctors prescribed her morphine and fentanyl, but these left her feeling like “a zombie”, she told iNews.
After a friend suggested cannabis, Ms Barton has since been using the drug to treat her pain with positive results.
When medicinal cannabis moved to prescription-only in November, she was able to access a prescription provided by a “very senior specialist pain management consultant” following a 90-minute assessment and weeks of information exchange, she writes in The Times.
“My prescription was the first ever in the UK for unlicensed medicinal cannabis,” said Ms Barton.
“It was for a commercially available product that almost mirrors the strain and composition of cannabis I have been obtaining from the black market and consuming for years.”
However when she presented to the pharmacy with the script, Ms Barton had a negative experience.
She said the pharmacist told her the version of medicinal cannabis she needed “could be bought anywhere now that THC was legal”, but she clarified that this assertion was incorrect.
“I went in with an absolutely by-the-book, utterly legible handwritten prescription,” writes Ms Barton in The Times.
“[The pharmacist] refused to acknowledge the prescription, or that he was wrong, and refused to make calls to investigate. Then he laughed at me.”
“There are at least 1.1 million of us who know, through experience, that cannabis helps to address the pain and anxiety our conditions wrap us in. When that pharmacist laughed at me, he laughed at all of us.”
Ms Barton’s prescription would not have been easy to obtain.
When medicinal cannabis became available on 1 November, NHS guidance for patients warned that medical cannabis would only be prescribed for a limited number of conditions, and only if all other treatment options had already been explored.
A spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) told The Pharmaceutical Journal that it did not expect community pharmacies would receive many prescriptions for medical cannabis.
The PSNC spokesperson said that pharmacy teams should be able to handle any such prescriptions “in a similar manner to those for any other drug”.
“If the product cannot be sourced by any of the usual suppliers, the pharmacy may contact a specials supplier,” added the PSNC spokesperson.
Ms Barton has reportedly worked for the United Patients Alliance, an organisation that represents the interests of medical cannabis patients in the UK.