The United Kingdom has one of the most restrictive medical cannabis programs in Europe. Legal medical cannabis access is restricted to only the most extreme medical cases and conditions, and even then, the forms of medical cannabis that are available to patients are very limited.

Famed Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart has become increasingly vocal in his demand for medical cannabis legalization in the UK, as demonstrated in a recent interview. Stewart suffers from arthritis. Per Express:

“”I have arthritis in both my hands and thumb joints and have been prescribed various drugs, including a cream which didn’t do much. The moment I started using cannabis-based cream it worked and I could feel an immediate reduction in discomfort.”

Sir Patrick Stewart is just one of many patients that experience relief after using cannabis to treat arthritis. It is estimated that as many as 350 million people suffer from arthritis across the globe. A vast majority of them are only provided the option of using harmful (and often addictive) painkillers, or going without medicine, or breaking the law by using medical cannabis.

Cannabis has proven to be an effective pain management tool and is far safer than most pharmaceutical drugs. Opioid-based painkillers have wreaked havoc on society over the years, including in the UK, and the fact that opioids are legal in the UK while medical cannabis remains largely illegal makes no sense, as Patrick Stewart pointed out in his interview:

“It seems perverse that opioid prescriptions are still at such high levels when medical cannabis could be a much safer and more cost-effective alternative. I have been given steroid injections for the pain in the UK. Last year I had eight injections into my fingers and knuckles which is about as painful as anything one can imagine.” Stewart said according to the interview.

Stewart is one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world and has a massive fanbase. Hopefully, his advocacy will help tip the scales in support of comprehensive medical cannabis legalization in the UK.