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UK: Cornwall Cannabis Social Club's Falmouth event hosted an Afghanistan veteran who spoke about how he uses cannabis to treat his PTSD

Marco Ferrari

Falmouth Packet

Thursday 30 Aug 2018

Jamie Taylor, from Tavistock, spoke at the first public meeting of the Cornwall Cannabis Social Club in Falmouth about how he is now facing criminal charges.

He joined the army at the age of 16, and after serving in Afghanistan in 2008 was honourably discharged. Whilst he was away on tour, his family friend Scarlett Keeling was raped and murdered on a trip to India.

After returning to the UK he found himself struggling to cope with civilian life and began experiencing symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

He tried several medications without success, and when a family member found him living in a caravan in the woods they persuaded him to try cannabis.

He said: "[They] found me and handed me the spliff, and I said no. I thought it was evil. I tried some and I coughed like a trooper, it was the first time I had smoked.

"Within five minutes I just felt completely relaxed and I started crying then and there because it helped so much with my PTSD."

He found it so effective that he decided to share CBD oil with others through the internet.

Now, as he awaits his trial, Jamie is meeting fellow cannabis activists across the country and telling his story.

He said: "I'm trying to take away that stigma and change the way people look at cannabis."

Steve Holyoak from Cornish Botanicals was also at the event, manning a stall offering various CBD products, and told the Packet about how he started the business.

Twelve years ago, he had an operation on his right leg which went wrong and left him with chronic pain. He was prescribed a range of opioid painkillers including morphine and tramadol, but soon discovered that by using cannabis to manage pain, he could cut down his opioid usage by two-thirds.

Then, in 2017, he was run over by a hit and run driver. Using the compensation money from the accident, he started Cornish Botanicals and now sells a range of CBD oils, edibles and creams.

Ellie Gerred-Hart, who organised the event, said: "There was a brilliant turnout, people have come from all around Cornwall.

"There's a huge network in the UK and we're all trying to accomplish the same thing: we want it to become normalised."

CBD is one of the main compounds in cannabis along with THC and is often associated with the medical benefits of the plant, whilst THC is responsible for the psychoactive 'high'. It is currently legal to possess and sell CBD oil and to grow plants with a low THC content, although growing THC-rich plants is illegal.




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