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A Reflection on Cannabis Europa: Advocacy, Progress, and the Importance of Supporting Children


Hannah Deacon at Cannabis Europa

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking on two panels at Cannabis Europa, a significant industry event that brings together industry partners, patients, and doctors to discuss the future of medical cannabis in the UK and Europe. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences and insights during these important conversations.


In the panel, "Paediatrics before Profit - Cannabis for Childhood Epilepsy," we focused on the issue of whether the driving forces behind medical cannabis reform in Europe are being overlooked and how the European cannabis industry can take action to safeguard the wellbeing of future generations, preventing unnecessary suffering for children.


Paediatrics Before Profits at Cannabis Europa

It is deeply concerning to see the current state of affairs for children with epilepsy in the UK. Alarmingly, there are only four NHS prescriptions for unlicensed cannabis-based medicines, one of which is for my son, Alfie. Despite the growth in adult patient access within the private sector, with over 25,000 prescriptions issued, just 80 children with epilepsy have been prescribed cannabis-based medicines. This disparity is disheartening and emphasises the need for continued efforts to ensure that children are not left behind.


I had the opportunity to moderate the "Women in Cannabis" panel, where we discussed the vital roles and influences that women bring to this fast-growing industry. However, it is my hope that in the coming years, there will be no need for a separate panel dedicated to women in cannabis. It became clear throughout the discussions and conversations at the event that women are already an integral part of the sector. As the sector continues to grow and evolve, we must ensure that women's voices, perspectives, and contributions are heard and valued in every aspect of the industry.


Women in Cannabis at Cannabis Europa

We talked about the significant power that women have within households as decision-makers and organisers, especially when it comes to guiding their families in healthcare and wellbeing matters. As key influencers in purchasing decisions and drivers of change within their families and communities, women play an essential role in driving the acceptance and adoption of cannabis-based medicines. The panel also talked about the return on investment that businesses experience when women take on senior board-level positions. Research has shown that companies with gender-diverse leadership tend to perform better financially, work more innovatively, and show greater adaptability in the face of change.


Every time I attend Cannabis Europa, I feel positive about the progress being made in the industry. There are many dedicated and driven individuals working to build the sector for the benefit of patients, doctors, and the entire infrastructure. Cannabis Europa allows for open communication between industry partners, patients, and doctors. It helps us discuss what is needed from the industry to develop patient access and give support and confidence to doctors. The conference provides a space where we can work together to build the sector and support patients and doctors alike.


However, there is still much work to be done, particularly for paediatric epilepsy patients and oncology in the private sector. My takeaway from the event is a call for the private sector to do more. We must come together as an industry to ensure that access is not limited to adult patients but is also available for those who desperately need it.


Through my work as Director of Maple Tree Consultants, I hope to continue building awareness around patient access while supporting businesses to grow ethically within this sector. With continued collaboration between industry partners, patients, and doctors, we can make great strides towards improving medical cannabis reform in Europe and beyond.


Together, we will create a brighter future where all individuals have equal opportunity for the health care treatments they deserve.



Watch my interview with the Cannabis Europa team:



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