Last Week in Weed Issue 7

In this issue of Last Week in Weed, a new study suggests cannabis could treat Covid, an update on CBMP Brexit woes, and a man wins tribunal for unfair dismal for cannabis consumption

Last Week in Weed (Issue 7)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In issue 7 of Last Week In Week, we’ll be looking at new Canadian research that suggests that cannabis can help to prevent ‘cytokine storm’ that causes Covid patient’s immune system to attack itself. The Dutch government giving a 6-month extension to CBMP being imported to the UK post-Brexit, and a British man that has won a tribunal for unfair dismissal after failing a drug test for cannabis.

New research out of Canada suggest Cannabis could help treat Covid-19

New research suggests cannabis extract could help treat Covid-19

This week’s first story has the potential to be a big one. New research from Canada has shown that several cannabis cultivars could be effective in helping to prevent Covid-19 sufferer’s immune systems from attacking itself. 

The research suggests that some proprietary cultivars, created in their lab may help prevent ‘Cytokine storm’. A kind of extreme inflammation response that can follow acute respiratory distress caused by severe cases of Covid-19.

Cytokines are small proteins that are released by different types of cells within the body. They are predominantly produced within the immune system, where they are responsible for coordinating the body’s response to infection and triggering inflammation. The storm occurs when the system goes into hyper-drive creating too many of these proteins that they then begin attacking the immune system.

The study was conducted by the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, and Pathway Research Inc. The joint team of scientists used ‘well-established and full-thickness’ 3D artificial human skin to create a tissue model which they exposed to UV to induce inflammation. The model was then treated with a host of extracts from their proprietary cultivars to show if there is any efficacy in reducing inflammation. 

Cannabis sativa has been proposed to modulate gene expression and inflammation and is under investigation for several potential therapeutic applications against autoinflammatory diseases and cancer. Here, we hypothesized that the extracts of novel C. Sativa cultivars may be used to downregulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and pathways involved in inflammation and fibrosis”. – Team behind the study

Their results conclude that three of their specific cultivars may reduce the severity of Covid-19 by helping to downgrade the expression of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines and pathways involved in inflammation and fibrosis. This could help to treat and even put into remission those suffering with ‘Cytokine storm’ that can develop after acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in some Covid-19 patients. 

As to specific chemicals, our analysis shows that CBD or THC alone do not have the same effect,” says Kovalchuck. “We strongly believe in the full-spectrum, entourage-based effects. Likely, there are secondary (minor cannabinoids) and terpenes that contribute, and we write in the paper, that one of such terpenes could be caryophyllene.”

The cultivars that were used in the study were created by the team in their lab over several years and selected for their anti-inflammatory properties. Although they do not exist outside of their facility we have been given the cannabinoid profile of the three most effective cultivars used to create the extracts used in the study.

Cultivar #4 – 14.7% THC, 0.76% CBD, 0.1% CBGA, 0.06% CBN

Cultivar #8 – 14.72% THC, 0.14% CBD, 0.22% CBGA, 0.02% CBN

Cultivar #14 – 21.5% THC, 1.35% CBD, 1.02% CBGA

As these cultivars are property of the research team and they haven’t released the full profile we cannot replicate the cultivars through breeding outside of the lab. This means that it may be some time before we see CBMPs on the market utilising these specific cultivars to help treat Covid-19.

6-month extension permitted for CBMPs from Holland

Dutch reprieve for Brexit CBMP woes

As we discussed in issue 5 of Last Week In Weed, Brexit has caused a lot of headaches for some 40+ parents who have become reliant on specific formulations of CBMPs from Dutch pharmacies.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had previously stated that since Britain has left the EU, fulfilling UK prescriptions for CBMPs at Dutch dispensaries was “no longer an option”. This meant that Bedica and Bedrolite oils, which are produced solely by the Dutch firm Transvaal Pharmacy were unable to be legally prescribed for UK residents post-Brexit. 

Luckily this week brought with it some good news for these children and their families as the company announced that the Dutch government had permitted them to continue exporting the live-saving oils. This only provides a 6-month reprieve, as the permission expires in July 2021. 

We can confirm that the Dutch Health Ministry has given Transvaal Pharmacy permission to continue to supply prescriptions to residents of the UK for the next six months.” – Transvaal Pharmacy

The UK Department of health is said to be “exploring more permanent solutions to ensure people who need these treatments can continue to access them.” However, given their continual failures over the past two years to provide access, I doubt a deal will be reached in time. 

Man wins employment tribunal for unfair dismissal for consuming cannabis

Recycling worker wins unfair dismissal tribunal for smoking cannabis

The final story that we will look at this week, is the historic victory of a recycling centre employee that took his former employer to tribunal for unfair dismissal. This might not sound that important, but just wait till you read this. 

Carl Pamment worked for his employer Renewi UK services for 14-years with no complaints or hint of incompetence before being dismissed. Mr Pamment was fired from his role as a driver’s mate when he failed a random drug test in April last year.

Following his dismissal, he took his former employer to an independent employment tribunal for unfair dismissal and won. The case was held remotely and quickly convened with the judge siding with Mr. Pamment.

The judge, Paul Housego ruled that no account was taken of the genuine reasons for Mr. Pamment consuming cannabis and for his long unblemished service. It was taken to be gross misconduct because it was a failed test, without any assessment of the circumstances. He later went on to state that the only reason he was fired is that cannabis is illegal.

In evidence, Mr. Pamment said that he consumed cannabis to help manage severe pain and to help him sleep – adding that it was consuming cannabis that allowed his health to improve to restart work after being on the sick with a bad back.

This is a fantastic result for non-prescribed medical consumers in the UK. From what information is available, Mr. Pamment didn’t have a prescription but still had his consumption recognised and legitimised by a legal authority in the UK. 

This was only a tribunal judge but it nevertheless indicates a potential change in attitudes from the judiciary. The next step is another remote hearing that will determine the damages to be paid to the employee – who has stated that he just wants his job back. 

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

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