Cannabis as a therapeutic tool

By Audrey SomnardLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

The medical cannabis pilot project has been extended until the end of this double election year, when the political parties will certainly not want to decide on the issue. In the meantime, doctors and patients are a bit lost.

From a prohibited drug to a tool in the medical arsenal, cannabis has improved its image in recent years. For some patients, cannabis is the only effective treatment to relieve pain and help with daily life. This is the case of Évelyne (name changed by the editors), who suffers from multiple sclerosis and who eats her cannabis cookie every evening. It's hard to imagine that this fifty-year-old woman would consume it. For her, it is a good alternative to sleeping pills. "I was diagnosed in 2005, but until 2012 the disease was relatively stable. I don't have spasms like others, but I can't sleep. At first I was prescribed sleeping pills", she says. But that didn't work, the drugs were too strong: "I was completely numb, I couldn't wake up in the morning, I couldn't sleep properly. And sleeping pills are addictive", she says.

The doctors then prescribed Sativex, the cannabis-based medicine authorised in Luxembourg, with balanced doses of 8 percent THC and 8 percent CBD. But it is still necessary to find the right dosage: "It's not easy, the doctor increases the dose until it suits, but for me it never worked." Because Evelyne needs a higher concentration of CBD, not THC, which is not offered by the Sativex on the market. So the Luxembourger took matters into her own hands. The old-fashioned way: "I bought seeds abroad and planted a few plants in my garden, and I harvest what I need at the end of the year. That's enough for me. It grows like bad weed, but it's seasonal", she says.

Even if each plant is different, Évelyne is interested in the properties of CBD, which calms her down, but it is impossible to obtain plants without THC. For her, legalization would allow her to no longer be an outlaw, even though legislation will always have its constraints: "Obviously I would like to no longer be a criminal, but it is complicated because my consumption in the evening before going to bed shows up on blood tests several days later… so technically I am not allowed to drive, even if I do it anyway." Which only works when she is in Luxembourg. For her holidays abroad, she cannot risk taking her cannabis with her: "I have to go back to sleeping pills during these periods, it's not so good but as long as it doesn't last too long I can live with it, " she says.

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