'It's saved my life' - Folkestone mum-of-three tackles stigma around medical cannabis

  • Report by ITV Meridian's Tony Green

A mother from Folkestone says using medical cannabis to treat her endometriosis has saved her life, and believes it could save others.

Catherine Scott is campaigning for the stigma surrounding the use of the medical use of cannabis to end and for greater understanding of its benefits.

The mother-of-three was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome when she was aged 21.

Both conditions cause extreme pain. Catherine underwent a hysterectomy aged 36.

"If any large amount of pain came on, I would be blue lighted to have cysts removed immediately," Catherine said.

"That happened four or five times before it got to the point I was actually losing blood a lot of the month. Then they did a total hysterectomy and removed both ovaries, and put me on HRT."

Catherine Scott preparing her medical cannabis Credit: ITV News Meridian

Since taking medical cannabis she says the quality of her life has greatly improved.

"It's really changed my life. I've dropped so many meds, I feel so much better.

"This can save lives. It's definitely saved mine," she said.

The change in the law which saw the apparent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in the UK took place in 2018.

Today there are currently two treatments prescribed on the NHS for severe epilepsies and for multiple sclerosis.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Catherine is taking part in a medical cannabis trial but has to pay for her medicine.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said that the most significant barrier to access products funded by the NHS is the lack of evidence on the quality, safety, and clinical and cost effectiveness of these products.

“Specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe cannabis-based products, where clinically appropriate and in the best interests of patients.

“Licensed cannabis-based medicines are funded by the NHS where there is clear evidence of their quality, safety and effectiveness.

“We are working closely with regulatory, research and NHS partners to establish clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of more cannabis-based products for medicinal use to inform future NHS funding decisions."

Although the law against medical use of cannabis may have changed, social attitudes have not.

"That needs to change", Catherine said. "For example my parents, initially, were very anti-cannabis. 

"But they can see my reports and the effect it's had on me and they can't argue with that.

"It has changed their minds completely."