Doctor refuses to give expensive medication to back pain patient, forced to illegally smoke cannabis

doctor refuses to give expensive medication to back pain patient forced to illegally smoke cannabis

A gardener with chronic back pain said that he had been forced to smoke cannabis to reduce his symptoms of back pain as the medication to treat back pain was quite expensive; around 175 USD. He was having the problem of back for a very long time; since the age of 15, when he had injured his back. Gareth has been bed ridden for years and suffering from intense headache and migraine.

He tried many opiate-based painkillers, but all failed to show any effect. He found that he could successfully treat his back pain with a cannabis mouth spray, known as Sativex, but it was very expensive.

Gareth said that he is now self-treating his condition with cannabis. According to him, he tried several medicines and even when nothing proved to be working, the doctors kept prescribing him opiate-based painkillers.

He said that he doesn’t smoke to get high and spends all his wages on medication. The only alternative solution is Sativex, but it is too costly.


Dr. Frances Elliot, director of NHS File said that Sativex is not on the NHS File Formulary as it has not been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium. In such cases, where practitioners feel that a drug, not on the formulary, could be beneficial, they can at least complete request of an individual patient.