Sunday, 23 October 2016

HELP - United Patients Alliance

United Patients Alliance need YOUR Help:

We are always looking for people who can spare any time at all to help us in our goal of legal access to cannabis therapeutics in the UK.
No matter what you can do, no matter how much time you have, no matter how anonymous you want to be - There is something YOU can do to help:


Sign up to #EndOurPain and join the 37 MPs, 13 Peers, 4 celebrities and 22k supporters that have already done so. Then tell all your friends and family to do the same.

Facebook Posts/Tweets/etc - ALWAYS and Every one!

  • Follow us on Twitter: @upallianceuk
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Like all our FB posts and tweets
  • Comment on posts/tweets - this spreads the word (much wider)
  • Share posts/Retweet - spreads the word (much much wider)
  • Share posts in other groups you think are appropriate
  • LIKES – Likes are the throwaway gesture of social media. When you like the Page Update. Facebook assigns very little weight to it in the Newsfeed algorithm.
  • COMMENTS – When you comment on a Page Update, Facebook’s Newsfeed gives more weight to comments than likes. 10 TIMES BETTER!
  • SHARES – A share is the brass ring on Facebook. This is huge in terms of exposure, word-of-mouth recommendation, and credibility. Facebook assigns the most weight to shares. 100 TIMES BETTER!

Letter/MP Writing <- Click link for detailed help

  • Write to your MP
    • Highlight your own condition/situation
    • Ask for their support
    • Highlight recent APPG launch and all its information/initiatives
    • Highlight the best Scientific Evidence
    • Request support for United Patients Alliance and #EndOurPain
    • Ask for Face to Face Meeting
  • Newspapers/Magazines
    • Patient Stories (Pref Public but can be anonymous)
    • Articles (individual or groups?) for publication about the APPG Launch and #EndOurPain 
      • Be supportive, but can suggest that it does not go far enough for you/your group...because.....(GYO, Extracts, Choice/Range, etc.....)
    • "Have your say" sections of newspapers like (Metro, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, etc)
  • Published Articles
    • Share
    • Comment
    • Share your comment

Other Activities

  • Help organise UPA UK Tour and Grassroots showings (2 separate events...probably?)
    • Brighton, London, Bristol, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow + any others you would like to suggest
    • Ideas for improving event nights
    • Finding + booking suitable venues
    • Event Admin/Advertising/Leafletting/Posters
    • Recruiting in local area
    • Hosting event in local area
    • Become Regional Admin and recruit local help?
  • Meme Making
    • Ideas for good memes
    • Graphic Design for branded memes 
  • Video Shorts
    • Short video clips (with branding and subtitles) say 30s on why you choose cannabis for your condition - The more the merrier!
  • Blogging (Need content for brand new website due for launch soon)
    • Writing blogs about almost anything in relation to Cannabis as a Medicine
    • Writing opinion pieces about #UPA #EndOurPain, APPG Launch, Mike Barnes' report, UPA Patient Survey
      • No opinion will be censored but would strongly prefer "supportive" Eg: Brilliant and a great step forward, thanks, blah BUT: Better if, needs that, should be like this because.....etc....
  • Other website content:
    • Guides
      • GYO
      • Care Giver/Community Sharing
      • Extracts
      • Harm Reduction
      • Dosage guide
      • General consumption advice
      • Legal Advice
      • Any other ideas
  • Research for Soundbites from UK based sources
    • Politicians/Celebrities etc
    • Search Hansard/TheyWorkForYou

Be a Patient

  • We are always looking for patients willing to speak out publicly and be available for media interviews/events
  • I hate saying this, but it is just TRUE - The more emotional your story, the better. The more debilitating your illness, the better. Wheelchairs/Walking sticks all welcome! The more eloquent you are the better. The more presentable you are, the better - We put patients forward, it is (ALWAYS) the media who select who they want!
  • Particularly looking for:
    • Veterans
    • Medical Professionals
    • Elderly
    • Child
    • Mothers
    • Anyone who can demonstrate "live" the "rapid" impacts of cannabis consumption 
  • Mental Illnesses - Unique Opportunity
    • For the very first time thanks in no small way to the support of Norman Lamb MP, we have significant focus on the benefits of cannabis to mental health conditions, especially: PTSD and Anxiety
    • We need willing patients with these or related conditions also with broader/other mental health conditions who get benefit from cannabis to step forwards
NOW is the time to make a difference. NOW is the time to be heard. NOW is the time to support Cannabis as a Medicine.

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Meeting Norman Lamb MP - CBD, Cannabis and Mental Health

Meeting Norman Lamb MP - 11th October 2016

I had the pleasure of meeting with Norman Lamb MP, who stands as both one of the most proactive supporters and campaigners for Mental Health Reform, and passionate advocate for cannabis law reform both as a medicine and recreationally. He commissioned the Expert Group, Chaired by Steve Rolles,Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation who published the most recent proposal for legal regulation of cannabis, which was submitted to parliament and can be found here: 
A regulated cannabis market for the UK

The subject for our discussion was one particularly close to my heart and mind: The Benefits of Cannabis for Mental Health Conditions, but, resulting from the recent decision by the MHRA to classify all cannabidiol (CBD) containing products as a medicine, I thought this was worth adding to the agenda.

Over the last couple of years, I have had a number of experiences of meeting MPs and I have to say that meeting Norman is different in all the good ways. He is informal, welcoming and friendly, he also has really comfortable leather sofas and I could very quickly tell that he was actively listening and taking a personal interest in what I had come to ask him, challenging fairly, asking searching and informed questions so that he understood the whole issue properly. That said, as with all MPs you meet their time is short so I got to the point:

CBD and the MHRA

Whilst supporting the need to regulate and quality control the CBD product market for the benefit of all consumers, I explained our concerns regarding the impact on many 1000s of patients' well being if legal access was restricted or indeed removed for any period of time. He listened, he grilled me, he understood and he dictated a letter to the MHRA right there and then in front of me and asking for an urgent response:

Norman Lamb's Letter to MHRA - Page 1

Norman Lamb's Letter to MHRA - Page 2

Result! Wow - That worked well, I must say. Will update you as soon as I get the Chief Executive Officer of MHRA's response!

Cannabis and Mental Health

Mental Health Conditions Effectively Managed with Cannabis
as reported by patients
©United Patients Alliance/APPG
Patient Survey 2016
We then discussed the the benefits of cannabis for many mental health conditions evidenced from Professor Mike Barnes' recent study, citing Anxiety, Depression, Sleep Disorders and PTSD along with the results of UPA's patient survey, (which we will publish shortly) finding 36% of patients effectively managing a range of mental health conditions with cannabis in various strengths and forms. 
(Conditions as reported in free text field)

Norman found these data compelling and was fascinated by the range. He noted that he had heard of its potential benefits for Anxiety and PTSD and agreed that the subject needed focus and attention.

I explained, that we spend too much time defending cannabis against exaggerated claims about its risks and so neglected the exciting benefits and that I felt, with his record in Mental Health reform, he would be in the best position to help us change this narrative. He asked, in what ways I thought he could help, so I asked whether he would help open the door to national organisations and charities on the subject. He suggested and agreed to facilitate a parliamentary round table discussion with a number of the major Mental Health Charities with whom he has a very good and long standing relationship. Another Result! (Well, as long as I can put the whole proposal together for him!!  HELP? Seriously - Help!)

Quite coincidentally (serendipitously), I happened to meet Professor David Nutt, from DrugScience on the tube on the way in and we had a very interesting conversation. Firstly, he was off to meet with representatives of the MHRA to discuss directly what their objectives and reasoning was in making their recent statement, as he feels that they might not be properly informed on the science of cannabis and CBD and was going to help them get up to speed. He has assured me, that he will be feeding back on how that went. 
In addition, he added, that there might just be some rather good news internationally on cannabis being announced shortly - He did not go into any more detail on this, but strongly suggested to keep an eye on his twitter account on Friday afternoon! :)

I have to say - Today was a good day! 

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance

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