Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by Mr B Samson [DP197]

I’m 24 years old, I suffer with a wide variety of illnesses that seriously impact my quality of life, I’ll name some these and how they affect me.

I have had Photo-sensitive Epilepsy with frequent grand mal seizures up to three or four times a week, over the last seven years. Each time I have a seizure I am disorientated for up to 24hours, I occasionally injure myself and can still feel the painful effects of a seizure up to a week afterwards. I have also noticed that my memory seems to be getting worse and worse due to the violent seizures my body goes through.

Even whilst taking my epilepsy medication as prescribed I was still suffering two to three seizures a month.

I have a curvature of the spine which gives me severe pain and mobility issues. My neck bones are slightly out of place causing extreme discomfort and stiffness. My right knee dislocated on average every one hundred metres or so, and I have to painfully click my knee into place.

I tore a ligament in my left knee last year which hasn’t fully healed and still feels very weak. Recently I had trapped a nerve in my neck which caused numbness down my right arm as a result of a seizure.

I have also been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which makes life difficult, along with agoraphobia, anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia.

Short-term memory loss severely affects my ability to retain information.

I was prescribed over six different types of medication, each with their own dangerous side effects, especially when combined and over long-term use. I was now suffering not only the illnesses mentioned, but also various harmful side effects. I was unable to perform even the simplest of tasks and was useless to society even after taking medication to help me, and was causing more harm than good.

In April this year, I stopped taking all my medication and just used cannabis, the difference was life changing for the better. I no longer suffer unbearable pain and discomfort, the anxiety and panic attacks have stopped. I have not had a single seizure since then and has been the longest time without a seizure in over seven years.

I feel that with the help that cannabis gives, I may be able to get back into work or learning. I understand people’s concerns if I was operating machinery or similar tasks while under the influence of a cannabis, but surely there will be other jobs that I would be capable of completing whilst taking the most effective medicine available for my conditions.

I have never suffered ANY of the supposed negative side effects associated with cannabis use.

I can leave my house now, without having to worry about having a seizure in the street, my anxiety and stress levels drop, my pain is more bearable and gives me hope for the future.

I should not be confused with a drug abuser, as I use cannabis (in its natural form) purely for medicinal benefits and should not be criminalised for taking this medication to benefit my health.

People who continue to have seizures will inevitably end up either dead or in a permanent vegetable-like state.

It is therefore in my best interests to continue to use cannabis, and would like the committee to urgently allow the use and prescription of Medicinal Cannabis in its natural form safely and legally.

Please consider my situation before making the final decision surrounding drug law reform.

Thank you for your time.

Mr B Samson

September 2012

Prepared 8th December 2012