Cannabis: Prescribing the miracle weed
February 04, 2005
Clare Wilson , New Scientist
'I HAVE had patients commit suicide because they said life had no meaning for them any more,' says William Notcutt, an anaesthetist at James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, on England's east coast. Notcutt specialises in treating patients in severe long-term pain. The causes are varied, ranging from spinal injuries to multiple sclerosis, but most of the patients have one thing in common: existing medicines don't help them.
'It's not just the pain, it's also what it does to your life,' Notcutt says. 'You've lost your job, you have financial problems, your spouse is fed up. I hear these heart-rending stories of people whose lives are crap.'
If there is one thing more frustrating for a doctor than being unable to deal with a patient's problem, perhaps it is knowing that there is a drug that could help - but they are not allowed to prescribe it. For Notcutt ...