A sciatica sufferer desperate for relief claims drops of cannabis oil have ended 13 years of crippling back pain.
Brenda Davidson, 55, from Kirkwall, Orkney, was frequently reduced to tears by her condition, as strong painkillers proved ineffective.
The condition turned her life upside down, and the intense pain often left her unable to carry on with everyday tasks including walking her dog.
Desperate for a cure, she turned her head to legally-available cannabis oil, which isn’t yet available on prescription in Scotland and can only be bought online and in a handful of high street shops – despite being sceptical of its reported benefits.
But since taking the liquid drops that she bought online she has been left virtually pain-free.
Just one day after trying her first drop of the oil, which cost £54 for 10ml, she said: ‘I can’t believe this, I am not in any pain!’
‘If it does start to niggle a bit by tea-time I just take another drop and it’s fine again – I really did not think it would work, but it has.
‘The NHS should definitely look into providing it on prescription – surely it would work out cheaper for them than giving out all these prescriptions for painkillers.’
Mrs Davidson, who plans to eventually stop taking her sciatica tablets completely, added: ‘Altogether, it is the best £54 I have ever spent!
The oil, which has yet to be approved for use on the NHS in Scotland, is sold minus THC – the psychoactive component that causes a high.
In England and Wales, it has been legal to buy in the UK since last year, after the Government approved its use as a medicine under licence.
Health officials admitted that CBD, a derivative which doesn’t cause a high, has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect when administered to humans.
Mrs Davidson’s case follows the landmark story of Billy Caldwell, an 11-year-old boy from Northern Ireland, who made headlines when he became the first Briton to be prescribed such cannabis oil on the NHS in April.
Her hairdresser recommended she tried using cannabis oil after seeing the ‘tremendous results’ for her mother, who also suffered from sciatica.
Despite being initially sceptical, Mrs Davidson scoured the internet to look at the various oils available, before deciding to give it a go.
The first oil she tried, which was cheaper, did not work. She then bought one from the company CBD Brothers, a firm her hairdresser praised.
Reduced to tears
As a former cafeteria assistant, Mrs Davidson was on her feet for long periods in a day – and was often reduced to tears with the level of pain.
Sleep deprivation turned her life upside down, and she tried to hide the agonising pain as best she could from close family.
Mrs Davidson was unable to walk for any distance – something which is no longer a problem since taking the oil.
The cannabis oil, which kicked in almost immediately, lasts for up to eight weeks
Her sciatica problems began while she was on holiday in Italy 13 years ago when she began to feel strange pains, she believes.
Mrs Davidson, married to Raymond, said: ‘I just took painkillers at that time, and went to see the doctor when I got back home.
‘Again they gave me painkillers, and I got an x-ray at some point but nothing showed up.
‘It got to the point that I could no longer walk the dog. I would be in so much pain and just come home crying my eyes out.
‘I have been on different painkillers over the years and they put me through physio but it did not really help.’
Cannabis oil in Scotland
Cannabis oil is not approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium for use on the NHS in Scotland, so it isn’t generally available.
However, patients can still make special requests for any medicine they believe may help that is not approved by the SMC.
This has to be signed off by their GP or consultant, and the final decision is then considered by a panel of relevant experts.
Christopher Nicolson, director of pharmacy at NHS Orkney said: ‘Cannabis oil has not yet been considered for use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, therefore it is not yet available on prescription.
‘However, in general terms, there is scope for doctors to make a request if they wish to prescribe the product. This involves an application being made to the office of the Medical Director.
‘NHS Orkney would then consider the request, and take expert advice before any agreement to fund the treatment.’
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