Patient Experiences & Future Regulations in the Cannabis Industry, with Simon Erridge

Patient Experiences & Future Regulations in the Cannabis Industry, with Simon Erridge

Patient Experiences & Future Regulations in the Cannabis Industry, with Simon Erridge

Episode 107

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Episode 107

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Simon Erridge is the Research Director of Curaleaf, a clinic that helps eligible patients with affordable plant medicine care. In this episode, we explore the story behind the business that can’t say what they sell. We discuss exclusive patient experiences, the limitations this medicine receives from UK regulations as well as the future of the medication. Could your business thrive through only word-of-mouth? What are the challenges the clinic face? What education does Curaleaf bring to doctors and law enforcers? Find out more in this one-of-a-kind episode!

Episode Summary


Patient Experience

In this episode, Simon walks us through the unique patient experience that Curaleaf clients go through, with both positives & negatives.

Simon tells us about the hardships that Curaleaf go through with prescribing the medicine to its patients. With 18,000 psychiatrists available in the UK, there are only 500 pain specialists in the UK. And once the prescription is approved it can only be sent out physically with no electronic / digital alternatives available. However, he also tells us about the efficient product delivery that patients experience, with their application traclomg the prescription: From when it gets written, the delivery to the pharmacy, all the way to the prescription reaching the user. How is the industry looking to evolve? Find out more in this episode.

“It’s almost like Uber for medical cannabis in some way.



Simon walks us through the industry regulations & how they have stayed the same since they first began in 2019. He discusses the aspirations and goals he wishes to see when it comes to the industry’s innovations as well as the barriers they face, with the Blue Guides by the HMRA set in place which are there to provide a safety net for patients.

“There’s been suggestions that things will change. For instance, the physical prescription element, there’s been some recent guidance that has been provided to the Home Office. The government has accepted that change



Simon talks to us about the work that Curaleaf do, spreading awareness and research to  the general public with over 20 scientific papers published since opening in 2019. He discusses the different conditions that Curaleaf has researched and the promising results they have seen throughout the years.


To find out more about Simon, check out our full episode – available on all your favourite channels. Now including YouTube!


This article summarises podcast episode 107 “Patient Experiences & Future Regulations in the C*nnabis Industry” recorded by CX Insider.

Written by Octavian Iotu

Simon Ronald: I find that interesting. You’ve got a business where you’re providing a service, but you can’t really say exactly what it is. You have to let your potential patients kind of make their own minds up, almost. You sort of, you must hint subtly what it is you do for them to know.

Simon Erridge: At the end of the day there’s no substitute for speaking to someone 1 to 1 and finding out- what you know. We could do questionnaires till the cows come home, but really it’s about that doctor patient relationship that you build up.

Daniel Gibbon: We always had this saying like, if it burns black, send it back, which is- you shouldn’t have to say that, you know, it should be, you know, regulated.

Simon Erridge: It’s a bit like almost Uber for medical cannabis in some ways, in that if there’s going to be a five minute delay in the Uber coming to you, it’s okay because you can see it there. You can see that you know it’s happening. That’s what we tried to do in terms of that. So you can see all the prescriptions being written okay. It’s at the pharmacy okay. You can pay for it now. It’s now on a DPD van. It’s now being delivered. You know, all those things I think are really useful changes that we’ve been able to make over the years to try and make the patient experience better as well.

Octavian Iotu: On today’s episode of the CX Insider Podcast, we sit down and talk to the research director of Curaleaf, Simon Erridge. We discuss the story behind the business that can’t say what they sell a plant based alternative treatment. We discuss emerging research, the future of the treatment, as well as the user experience that patients go through. Since the time of recording, Curaleaf had undergone a name change. You will hear us discuss and mention Sapphire, the clinic’s old name. But what we are referring to in the episode is Curaleaf. Welcome back to the CX Insider Podcast. I’m your host, Octavian, and I’m joined by Simon and I’m joined by another Simon. Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and your career?

Simon Erridge: Yeah. Thanks so much, Octavian. So, as you said, my name is Simon. I’m a medical doctor by background. I graduated from medical school at Imperial in 2018, and very quickly after that, I sort of became involved in the medical cannabis industry. It was, first of all, sort of ignited through sort of an academic interest. I was doing some research at Imperial around the time the legislation changed in 2018, but it became really apparent at that time was that although the legislation had changed, people weren’t going to be able to access medical cannabis without there being specialist clinics set up. And that’s kind of how I then became involved with with Sapphire, in terms of sort of driving forward the work that we’re doing there.

Simon Ronald: So maybe you can tell us a little bit more about your actual role in Sapphire.

Simon Erridge: So the large part of my role is around driving forward the research that we’re doing at Sapphire. What we have realised very early on is that there isn’t the right types of research that’s enabled medical cannabis to be available to people on the NHS. And whilst Sapphire isn’t maybe the the optimal vehicle, in order to do that, we we see ourselves as being one of the agents for change in order to be able to get to that position in the future. And so one of the key things that I do is research with a large database called the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. So it’s something that Sapphire patients can opt into. And we have over 16,000 patients now on the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. And what we do is we assess their changes in their quality of life specific symptoms. So for instance, the most common condition we see is people with chronic pain. So we ask them regular questionnaires as to how severe is your pain, how is it impacting your day to day life. And a lot of my work revolves around doing research to see what that change is. In addition to that, I also spend a lot of time going through documents, whether that be for communications on social media, newsletters, etc. to make sure that everything is medically accurate so that people are getting the right information from us.

Simon Ronald: Clearly, you’re governed by a lot of regulation. Is that something that’s constantly changing?

Simon Erridge: The regulations have largely stayed the same since we first started seeing patients in December 2019. There has been some sort of postulated changes to the legislation around medical cannabis, but largely the things that impact what we do on a day to day basis stay the same. And probably some of the biggest barriers to what we do is around how we see patients who we’re able to see how we’re able to prescribe for them, and then in the end, how they get their medical cannabis from a pharmacy.

Octavian Iotu: So you’ve worked with them for five years. How do you see the next five years going when it comes to your treatment?

Simon Erridge: What we’ve seen in the UK with regards to medical cannabis is there’s been a large uptake compared to where we were in 2019. We see almost exponential growth in the numbers of patients that we’re seeing both at Sapphire, and I imagine it’s the same at other clinics around the UK. So I think we’re going to continue to see more and more people access medical cannabis. All patients we see are those with chronic health problems who have failed to receive sufficient benefit from first line treatments. People are struggling out there in terms of their chronic health problems, and there’s a there’s a growing number of patients who are interested in our services and aren’t eligible, but also those who are eligible for a prescription with medical cannabis. And so I see that we’re definitely going to see an increase in the number of people being prescribed medical cannabis. That’s going to be largely in the private sector as it is at the moment. I don’t see that specifically changing too much in the next five years, because what we really need is, is kind of like high level data that can convince the people who make the decisions for the NHS and otherwise for it to be prescribed more widely. I think that is coming, but it requires a lot of investment. And although there is money in the cannabis industry, medical cannabis industry, it’s not of the same extent as big pharma. And it’s been very difficult to therefore drive forward that sort of top tier research that would allow every doctor in the UK to be on the set at the same consensus level around medical cannabis.

Simon Erridge: At the moment, you see sort of a large dichotomy. You see some people who are heavy proponents for medical cannabis, some people who perhaps go too far and think it’s a cure for all. Uh, that’s not what I’m suggesting. And then you see people who are heavily anti medical cannabis and kind of conflate the issues of medical cannabis with illicit cannabis or recreational cannabis, or indeed, this is less so much health care professionals. But in the general public, medical cannabis and CBD oil that you can get over the counter or from any wellness shop pretty much on every high street around the country. But the vast majority of doctors are kind of somewhere in that middle ground where they maybe accept that there is some evidence in petridish models, or in animal models that suggest there may be a potential there, but they aren’t willing to maybe recommend it for their patients at the moment or potentially in the future. And what we want to see is, is to drive it forward, whereby all doctors are on a consensus level by this is where medical cannabis sits within our health care structure. And and, you know, these are the appropriate patients that it should be prescribed for.

Simon Ronald: So there’s an interesting potential barrier then for for patients that might want to use your services because they need to find an entry through. Potentially a doctor that agrees with what you’re trying to do.

Simon Erridge: When we set up the clinics, we thought we were going to be really healthcare practitioner driven. We thought that we were going to be getting lots of referrals in sort of the traditional model. You go and see your GP, you get a referral and then you go and see a specialist. And we do definitely see patients still through that pathway who are referred by their GP or from their specialist directly, but the vast majority has been driven by by patients themselves who self refer. And we know that there are a large number of people out there in the UK who consume illicit cannabis, but for the intent of, you know, relieving their their symptoms. We did a survey in conjunction with YouGov that estimated there’s about 1.8 million people in the UK who are doing that to some extent. And you know, what we would want to see in the future is although those people may be getting some form of relief from the symptoms, there are lots of harms with respect to illicit cannabis, not only in terms of potential societal harms, but, you know, particularly to their own health. We know that illicit cannabis can be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, things that you don’t want to be consuming. So we see a lot of people who are sort of driven from the illicit market, who are now accessing their medical cannabis, legitimately.

Octavian Iotu: Keeping it safe and regulated.

Simon Erridge: Yeah, exactly. I mean, medical cannabis, although it’s an unlicensed product, everything has to be everything is regulated by the MHRA just like any other medicine. So, you know, it has to meet minimum standards with regards to its safety. That’s the that’s the most important thing is that we make sure that we’re providing a service that’s that’s safe for patients.

Octavian Iotu: Regulations on this medicine are very strict. But what does this mean for the patients that need this treatment. What are the barriers for patients that are looking to access this plant medicine, as well as the benefits that these regulations bring?

Simon Erridge: Regulations are very stringent in the UK and that has its pros and its cons. What it’s there to do is, is to provide a safety net for patients. And that is of course, the right thing. That’s that’s what it’s there for. But what it does do is it does create a lot of barriers in terms of being able to either access the service and then if you are an eligible patient, it the process that you would then go on to to get a prescription. So if I kind of sort of talk you through that process, if you are a patient who who applies for treatment with medical cannabis, we would need to see your summary of care records from your GPS. Lots of GPS are great. They will send it next day, whatever. But some GPS may never send it and people are then have to go into their GP surgery and they’re like, what? You know what’s happening with with my records, I’m not getting it. And so that’s already a barrier initially to to be able to access it. To be eligible for medical cannabis you have to have tried. It’s different a bit condition by condition, but largely you would say two or more sort of first line licensed therapies. So if you’re someone with chronic pain, you’d expect them to have tried at least two types of painkillers, not ones that you get over the counter like paracetamol and something you would get from your GP or a specialist.

Simon Erridge: So that’s another barrier. But I think, I think that’s an appropriate one. That kind of sits where medical cannabis evidence is. In the UK, you can only be prescribed medical cannabis by a specialist. So if you’re someone with pain, you have to see a pain specialist. There are only just over 500 pain specialists in the UK. And so if you think not all of them are within medical cannabis clinics and you know, not everyone’s going to, that’s not going to be the right thing for every pain specialist. So they’re they’re not many to go around. Right. Um, so you know, we work with a number. There’s there’s still sort of a bit of a challenge there in terms of just recruiting clinicians, because there aren’t many for psychiatrists, it’s a bit different. There’s about 18,000 in the UK. That’s a bit easier. Yeah but pain specialist, it’s a bit more difficult to get your hands on them. Once you see a specialist they then have to have a discussion with other specialists in what we call a multidisciplinary team to make the final decision to be prescribed medical cannabis. And that definitely has its pros, you know, someone who is being seen for chronic pain but maybe has a history of mental health problems. It’s good to have a discussion with a psychiatrist as to is medical cannabis appropriate, and if so, what’s the best type of medical cannabis for that patient? So that makes a lot of sense.

Simon Erridge: But you have to find a way of bringing those busy doctors all together once a week to have that discussion. If they then decide that that person is eligible, you have to write a physical prescription. It can’t be. It’s not electronic. There has to be a physical prescription that has to go to what we call a specialist pharmacy. So there are certain pharmacies around the UK that can handle unlicensed medicine. So this isn’t boots. This isn’t something on your high street. This has to go to a specialist pharmacy that they can. Then they can either send that medication directly to you or they can send it directly to a local pharmacy. But that’s a lot of barriers in the way in terms of patient access. And not to them, I say are are right in terms of safeguarding patient safety. But I think the frustration comes from a lot of people who have come from that illicit market, who are used to being able to contact a dealer or whatever it may be, and get very quick service. And we we definitely do our best. But, you know, there are rules and regulations which mean that things don’t happen just like that.

Simon Ronald: Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? That process is I think a lot of what you’ve said, the regulations do make sense, don’t they? There’s a lot of good, viable checks that should be done. But yeah. Like you say, when you see a patient that’s coming from illicitly obtaining it instantly and then has to jump through all of these hoops, do you think the future will mean these regulations will be more relaxed?

Simon Erridge: There’s been some suggestion that that things will change. So for instance, that physical prescription element, there’s been some recent guidance that’s been provided to the Home Office to suggest that they that they should change that. The government has accepted that that change. So we anticipate that that should come down. And I think that that will make the biggest difference, actually, just that you can send something electronically rather than in a post. But, you know, I think one of the key things is, is the industry has already made large strides to work within those regulations, but make them work for patients so that you can try and move things along for them as quicker pace as possible. So patients have to be organised, but as long as they are, you know, they shouldn’t experience any delays in being able to access their medicines or anything along those lines. It’s just that you have to be, you know, quite organised in terms of making sure that you are on time with requesting repeat prescriptions and things like that.

Octavian Iotu: Today, customer experience is key regardless of the size of your organisation. Optimising resources and time plays an essential role in meeting customer expectations. Make booking appointments easy with our customisable platform. Appointment bookings make it possible to receive all the information about your customer, user or patient. Access the appointment calendar, deliver notifications to users, offer options to change or cancel an appointment, and deliver essential information to your staff through an intuitive dashboard in real time. Our appointment booking platforms collect data from every touchpoint along your customer journey, helping you deliver remarkable customer experiences. Appointment booking solutions designed for virtual world. Click the link in our bio to find out more. How does Sapphire Medical collect and use their patients experiences?

Simon Erridge: One of the key ways in which we do it is kind of, as I touched upon using their, you know, their specific health experiences with medical cannabis in terms of with relation to their condition. So we’ve published almost 20 papers, scientific papers now since we opened in 2019, looking at all the various different conditions and how people’s health has changed over that time. So we’ve looked at things like chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD, inflammatory bowel disease. You know, we’ve pretty much looked at most of the things that we see patients for. Medical cannabis is not is not a panacea by any stretch of the imagination. But, you know, the results have been largely promising. But one of the key things that we also do is look at the safety as well, is look at the adverse events and report those in a robust manner. And I think that’s really important. And and one of the things that I think a lot of people maybe are concerned about with respect to cannabis is things like psychosis or intoxication or in medical terminology, we call it euphoria, but you’ll know it as, as a high from cannabis. And actually, you know, we have seen episodes of psychosis, but actually for the patient population that we have seen who some of them have very significant mental health problems. We don’t treat people who have like schizophrenia for obvious reasons, but people with severe PTSD or severe depression, some of those will naturally go on to develop psychosis anyway. And, you know, we have thankfully seen not very many episodes of psychosis in our population, which is really promising when we compare it to sort of people who are using illicit cannabis for recreational reasons.

Simon Erridge: So that’s that’s kind of how we’re using that medical data. But, you know, we’re always looking to incorporate feedback in terms of how we make sure our process is always being driven forward and making things better for patients. We now have in comparison to where we where we started, we have a web app where we’re able to those scores that I was talking about in terms of being able to display those back to patients so they can see this is how my health has changed. While I’ve been prescribed medical cannabis, they’re able to request their prescriptions online through that same portal. You know, some of those barriers we talked about, they’re able to track it the whole way through the supply chain. Even if there are delays. It’s a bit like almost Uber for medical cannabis in some ways, in that if there’s going to be a five minute delay in the Uber coming to you, it’s okay because you can see it there. You can see that you know it’s happening. Something’s moving that makes sense. So so that’s what we tried to do in terms of that. So you can see all the prescriptions being written okay. It’s at the pharmacy okay. You can pay for it now okay. It’s now being it’s now on a DPD van. It’s now being delivered. You know, all those things I think are really useful changes that we’ve been able to make over the years to try and make the patient experience better as well.

Simon Ronald: That’s interesting what you said as well, isn’t it, because I imagine most people’s perception is that it is a panacea, isn’t it? Part of the service you do is the education and the constant monitoring to make sure it is giving them the benefits of the condition they’ve got and not further problems? Yeah, no, 100%.

Simon Erridge: I think it’s really important to us. And we see patients in consultations every three months. So we are constantly getting both that sort of questionnaire feedback, but also that tangible feedback, because at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for speaking to someone 1 to 1 and finding out what, you know, we could do questionnaires till the cows come home, but really it’s about that doctor patient relationship that you build up.

Octavian Iotu: Can you dive further into the stigma surrounding your treatment?

Simon Erridge: Yeah, I think the key thing is I generally believe that the stigma around medical cannabis is improving all the time, and it’s through doing things like this and other media opportunities by raising awareness and people being more aware of there being medical cannabis that is legal in the UK, that stigma has slowly started to change. But we do understand from speaking to our patients that they do perceive stigma, and that’s from all areas of society. And one of the interesting things that that we found from doing some research with our patients is actually they perceive stigma less from their friends and family, and they felt more comfortable talking with their friends and family rather than with authority figures that, let’s call them that for for ease. So other healthcare professionals, police, whatever it may be, they found it sort of much more comfortable speaking with friends and family about that. And that’s that’s quite interesting. But also in some ways you could perceive it as being quite worrying that they don’t feel that they can trust their GP or their their specialist with the fact that they’ve got a medical cannabis prescription. And, you know, we always have it as a stipulation that we will write to their GP or their specialist because they need to know what else they’re being prescribed, so they can also prescribe whatever they need to prescribe safely. But I think that’s an important part of the sort of education that we need to do to everyone. So that’s why we’ve written to the National Police Chiefs Council to make sure and offered medical cannabis education for any police force or constabulary that wants it. We’ve written to every GP surgery to say if you would like a lunchtime education session on medical, you know, I think it needs a multi-tiered approach in terms of educating the public, but also, you know, the relevant professionals who need to really upskill their knowledge around medical cannabis.

Octavian Iotu: Something that I want to talk about is the way that you guys get your emerging research out to the general population and patients, because I imagine that must be really difficult to do.

Simon Erridge: It isn’t. It isn’t. So the the real challenge when speaking about our research is we’re kind of limited in what we can say about it. Essentially, we are limited by what’s called like the blue guides by the MHRA. And that kind of suggests that you can’t really promote your medicines. And that even comes within the context of promoting our research about the medicine. Even if the research is done with the best of intents, you can’t then just transcribe it verbatim to a journalist, then let them run wild with it. We have to be very careful in terms of what we say about any positive results. But on the flip side, there’s always a lot of interest with respect to to medical cannabis. If I was doing the research that I did on any other drug, I’d probably been on less TV shows. And and, you know, my life might be simpler, but, um, but, you know, um, there’s definitely a lot of interest just because it is, is cannabis. And they hear the word cannabis and it and it drives attention. So there’s pros and cons to that. But but yeah, it’s certainly been an interesting time in terms of making people aware of our research. Because at the end of the day, because of where medical cannabis sits, you kind of in our health care system as a patient, you need to know about it in order to be able to make the conscious decision about whether it’s the right option for you. And so we believe that all patients should have that right to be able to make that option, whether it, you know, it’s not going to be right for everybody, but they need to be able to make that decision for themselves. So yeah, it’s been a journey. But you know, hopefully, uh, more and more people are becoming aware of it.

Simon Ronald: I find that interesting. You’ve got a business where you’re providing a service, but you can’t really say exactly what it is. You have to let your potential patients kind of make their own minds up, almost. You sort of. You must hint subtly what it is you do for them to know.

Simon Erridge: You know, it’s really well reflected in the fact that the vast majority of our patients come to us via word of mouth. And I think that’s always a good reflection on any business. If you’re driving things through word of mouth, it means you must be doing something right. But I think that also speaks to the fact that we have those restrictions about what we can and can’t say in that a lot of people are kind of finding out about us because of a friend or family member, rather than hearing about us in X, Y, and Z.

Simon Ronald: I bet.

Octavian Iotu: Can you tell us some patient experience stories that you have been a part of?

Simon Erridge: So I think, I think some of the most rewarding experiences that we’ve been part of. So in addition to my work at Sapphire Clinics, is I’m also a trustee of the Sapphire Medical Foundation, which is something we set up right alongside the clinics but sits independently to it. So myself and a number of trustees who are independent to the clinics. Through that process, we help to provide funding for patients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access medical cannabis. So some of the most rewarding experiences have been sort of the work we’ve done with individuals with epilepsy and chronic pain. We’ve really been able to make a difference in terms of their livelihoods, because without the foundation, there would be no hope of them being able to access medical cannabis. So so that’s been definitely some of the most rewarding patients that that I’ve got to work with for sure.

Octavian Iotu: So for this part of the episode, we’ve got a patient and someone that works with the CX Insider to be on the show with us. So we’ve brought on Daniel Gibson, aka Dan. You might have seen him. Yeah, you might have seen him on our LinkedIn. And yeah, tell us who you are and then we’ll get started with this next segment. My name is Daniel Gibson.

Daniel Gibbon: I am basically the I’m the producer for the podcast, and I’ve been a little bit behind the scenes so far. I’m actually, uh, I’m actually a user of, um, Sapphire Medical Clinics, and it’s honestly like it’s changed my life, like completely night and day. I used to be on, like, various other medications, and the downtime that I’d have throughout my day, like personally, was just huge. I didn’t feel like a functioning member of society before I tried this. Basically, the level of pain relief is equivalent to that of, you know, the other prescription medications that I was on and before it, I also tried to self-medicate with cannabis, and so did my mum. Actually, she had it off with them. It was throat cancer. She didn’t smoke, which was, you know, the bad thing about it, but um, yeah. Which also like developed into breast cancer, which very much sucked. But I was lucky enough to get her on to Sapphire Medical, which was like a huge, huge benefit for her just because of the increase in quality of life, you know, compared to the other medications that she had had. Yeah. Just like she, she went from literally the difference is like night and day for her was she would go home, just watch like Emmerdale you know, like a glass of wine, just kind of like moping out and then like, you know, afterwards she would be basically laughing her ass off watching Monty Python.

Daniel Gibbon: So, you know, like that, that level of difference to me, like, said it all, and I’m so glad that I got that opportunity to, you know, to tell her about it. And it it is really frustrating from, from a patient point of view that you can’t take this, this research that you’re doing and, and really like put it out there, you know, to the people who, you know would benefit from it. Obviously, you know, it’s not for everyone. It’s not it’s not a cure all. But for me and the other people that I’ve personally referred to it, it’s been like life changing for, for them, especially not having to go through the illicit route where they have so many other things that, you know, are potentially very harmful to them. It’s bad because, you know. We always had this. The saying like, if it burns black, send it back like which is you shouldn’t have to say that, you know, it should be, you know, regulated. You know, probably one of the, one of the questions I’ve got for you, Simon, is what are you doing at the moment to to try and educate health care professionals in order to get them to then be able to refer patients?

Simon Erridge: Yeah, we try and do as much as we can to be honest. We’ve written to every GP practice in England. We can’t get the addresses of them in the other parts of the UK, but we would do otherwise to offer them education on medical cannabis. And if you are a GP or a healthcare professional listening, I’ll be more than willing to either come to your practice or do it via zoom and give you some education around medical cannabis and what is being prescribed for. What are the potential effects? What are the potential side effects of medical cannabis as well? Every patient that we see, their GP gets a letter about what’s happened to their patient, and we hope to provide useful educational resources for that patient. Like for that GP. One of the key things is that obviously lots of us have electronic healthcare records now, all of us should do, you know, making sure that medical cannabis is correctly coded in your healthcare records. We found that a lot of patients were inappropriately even though being prescribed medical cannabis, it was being coded as cannabis misuse or cannabis abuse or or things along those lines. So, you know, we made sure that GP surgeries were aware of the precise code that they need to put, and you know how to correctly code that within their their system so that, you know, I don’t think it’s in any way appropriate to, to mislabel someone who is a, a patient with a legitimate, legitimate medical problem as an abuse of some of these, misusing a substance. So, you know, small things like that. We try and speak a conferences and, you know, sort of that more sort of traditional stuff that lots of healthcare professionals go to, to, to try and bridge that gap as well.

Daniel Gibbon: That’s awesome. Yeah.

Simon Ronald: So question for you, Dan. Right. We’ve spoken a bit haven’t we, about people purchasing it illicitly instantly. And then they come to Sapphire clinics and obviously have to follow the regulations which from today make perfect sense. The steps that you have to take to get what you want make perfect sense. How did you find it? Was it as you expected? Did you think it was more onerous than you thought?

Daniel Gibbon: To me personally, um, I found it easier, um, just because I’ve moved every year and a half of my life. So I’ve never really had, like, a solid, you know, I never had, like, a solid, like, go to guy, pretty much. So having it, the capability of it being delivered as well. Like because I have like miles on my beffta. So I find like, you know, walking long distances quite difficult. So the fact that it is, you know, like home delivery as well and that, you know, it’s all tracked and you know exactly where it is. And I couldn’t think of a of a better system, really. There was a stage in which I had to go to the, to the post office to go pick up my delivery, um, just because of where I was living. Like, the DPD van wouldn’t drive down my street for some reason. It was. It was a whole thing. But, uh, now that I’m living somewhere that isn’t completely in the sticks. Yeah, I can get home delivery. And it’s like, it’s. Yeah, it’s like night and day. Honestly, it’s.

Simon Ronald: Just the post office. Ever ask you what you’re coming to collect every week? I. And do you tell them that was probably.

Daniel Gibbon: One of the. I did say because I was with my girlfriend, I was like, oh, my arrived. I’m out. I mean, I’ll make my cannabis is around. Sorry. Get that sorry my.

Simon Ronald: Not legally prescribed.

Daniel Gibbon: Yeah yeah yeah. And they were just like what. I was like oh don’t worry it’s legal. Yeah yeah I have, I have had fun with it. To be fair, I’ve had a couple of awkward situations in public, especially with trying to get into download Festival was um, was quite interesting. Oh yeah. Because some people like to shimmy through your bag and take things and, you know, distribute them on, um, when they’re at certain festival gates. So it was kind of a more of a conversation of like, I will call the police. And they’re like, what? It’s it’s like, oh, cannabis. Sorry. Oh, man, I’m bad at this. So usage in public, obviously, like with the variation that I’ve got is I’ve got the flower form. So I’ve been recommended to use a vaporizer and I’ve had some awkward conversations with friends that are involved in the authorities put it that way. And they say you can’t do that in public. What is the policy like on using it? Like, do you have to be like at home or, you know.

Simon Erridge: No, um, there should be no restrictions as far as I can see as to where you can consume your cannabis. It’s, you know, it’s a medically prescribed product. You take it as and when you need it. So if it’s something that you need for, you know, administered throughout the day and you’re out and about when it needs to be administered, there’s no reason why you should be again stigmatised against to have to consume outside of the public realm.

Daniel Gibbon: Is it the same as smoking, though? Like, does it have to be outside in a like I think.

Simon Erridge: I think this is, this is where some of the regulations need to catch up. This is like one of the areas where it is kind of lacking in terms of when you’re vaporizing, you’re not igniting it, and therefore you’re the person taking the prescription is. Inhaling the vapour. Whereas if you are to smoke cannabis. And just to reiterate, if you even smoke a legal prescription that is still illegal in the eyes of the Home Office and something that we recommend against. Because just like if you burn tobacco, you create cancer causing chemicals and carbon monoxide and and all sorts of nice things, whereas vaporization heats up the plant so that you release the active ingredients within it. So whether it be CBD or THC or. Well, that’s, that’s the main two, but that’s how you release it. And so and I’ll let you testify to this in terms of the aroma around using a vaporizer and exposure to to cannabis for someone whose value is significantly reduced compared to smoking.

Daniel Gibbon: Yeah, 100%. My my girlfriend doesn’t even notice that she’s got a nose like a bloodhound, honestly. And, you know, I’d be puffing away and she’d be like, oh, you are, you are using it. It’s like, you know, like it’s probably as bad as someone being, I don’t know, like a block away. And you might just, like, catch a whiff of it on the, on the air. It’s so minimal in comparison. Yeah. To like to actually smoking it, you know, it would be kind of interesting to know, like is it technically illegal then to to smoke it in a, in a cinema or like.

Simon Erridge: So to, to smoke your prescription, uh, to.

Daniel Gibbon: To vaporize that. I mean, sorry.

Simon Erridge: Um, no, it’s definitely not technically. Uh, I think every everywhere will have like, it’s kind of like fair usage policies. The key thing is each venue, they can’t discriminate against you because you’re a medical patient. If they are trying to restrict you from being able to consume your medicine when you need it in one area, they need to be able to provide you a legitimate place for you to consume it safely in another area. You are a medical patient, and therefore you have certain rights and protections that come along with that.

Daniel Gibbon: I’ve always treated it as normal vaping, you know, like, um, like nicotine vaping. So I’ve always treated it as, you know, like I’d need to go to like, say like a smoking area. You know, some people just don’t like people like just generally smoking on the street, you know, like even like. Yeah, like a vape. So yeah, that’s I never knew that. That’s very interesting.

Simon Erridge: I think the other key thing about like taking your medicine out and about. So you have to like again, kind of make sure you’re a bit organised with that. So you need to always keep your medicine in its original container. Um, um, with the label from the pharmacy on it, the big.

Daniel Gibbon: White bulky one that I’ve got, I’ve got the high, I think it’s like five grams, um, sort of containers. Yeah.

Simon Erridge: So, so that that you’re somewhere in, in your pot, somewhere in, uh, like kind of, uh, foil packaging. But as long as it’s in its original packaging with, with your name as it appears on your ID, because the other key thing is make sure you take around a form of ID that matches that. Yeah. And then the third thing that’s that’s recommended is either a copy of your most recent clinic letter or a copy of your prescription. So this is another thing that we’ve done at Sapphire is, um, people can get a, a copy of their prescription so you can get a prescription replica so that you can and that’s available on your web app. So if you do ever need to prove that you’re a medical cannabis patient, whether that’s, uh, if someone from the police stops you or whoever it may be, then you can just quickly access it on your app. As long as you know, as long as you’re keeping your ID and your medicine is correct container, then then you know you should be well protected.

Daniel Gibbon: You said that you’ve you’ve been like, uh, you do these, uh, these educations with the authorities and things. How popular are those? Is there quite a lot of interest.

Simon Erridge: Real mixed bag thankfully. Like in terms of, like inappropriately seizing or arrests of patients is actually quite uncommon if you consider like how many patients are in the UK. But it does unfortunately happen. And that tends to be where we get our biggest pickup is where something has gone wrong. And I think that that’s good. You know, something’s gone wrong and they want more education on it and we are there to provide it. That’s yeah, that’s a good thing. And I think police officers have a difficult job and it’s like a very it consumes my life. It can probably consumes your life. Yeah. And we did some like some surveys with police officers. And you know, it’s not their fault. They indicated in that surveys they want more education. It’s just they haven’t been provided it because policing in the country is so different from location to location. So some people it’s just like providing leaflets. Some people it’s actually going in there, some people it’s via zoom or equivalent and just kind of giving them some of that educational material. We can obviously drive home the stuff that we’ve talked about, about making sure you carry your prescription in the original container, your ID and a copy of your prescription. But there’s a lot of misconceptions around medical cannabis should just be an oil. So why is it not an oil or, um, you.

Daniel Gibbon: Know, because that’s better. Yeah.

Simon Erridge: Or, you know, it’s it should look like this or, you know, and and we’re able to help maybe dispel some of those sort of myths and misconceptions that potentially they may have that’s been really valuable when we’ve got the opportunity to do that.

Daniel Gibbon: Talking about education, I remember at secondary school, I had to stand up in front of my class and literally go through the reasons of what cannabis will cause and all the health risks and everything that are involved with that. And I remember looking at the time and, you know, this was, oh, geez, when was that? In secondary school? Uh, I think it was like 2009, I want to say, and I remember, I actually, I. Came in with a poster that had the benefits of it, and I got detention. Literally, they were just like, no, it is bad for you. It will always be bad. And I know this has been a big shift in, you know, the stigmatization of cannabis. Do you know what’s currently happening in schools, like are they allowed to say it can be, you know, a cure?

Simon Erridge: Secondary schools isn’t really my strong suit, but I can talk about medical schools. Okay. Um, so when I went to medical school, I had two lectures on cannabis, and it was as a drug of abuse. There was no discussion of where it may be potentially prescribed for an individual. And of course, this was at a time whereby it wasn’t able to be legally prescribed, but still there was sort of no consideration of even at that time, there were preclinical studies and and studies in other parts of the world that were looking at the the potential benefits for some patients. And we’ve actually held discussions with medical schools around introducing more education around medical cannabis to the curriculum. It hasn’t been super productive. I’m going to be honest with you. Again, it’s kind of a bit like the the policing issue. For instance, I can’t prescribe medical cannabis because I’m not a consultant doctor. When you graduate from medical school, no one is a consultant doctor. And so their issue is they have so much time to cram all of the necessary things. You need to be a good doctor when you come out of medical school. They’re like, we can’t remove this being a bit blasé about it, but we can’t remove diabetes from the curriculum to teach medical cannabis, you know? Yeah, I think they’re being a bit facetious when they say things like that. But, you know, I kind of I do kind of get their point. There’s only like so much you can teach. But what we are seeing is there’s parts of the medical school curriculum where people do have more agency around what they’re able to study and, and things like that. So through my work at Imperial with the Medical Cannabis Research group there, we’ve had 20 plus medical students come and do research projects with us, and it maybe is on a much smaller scale than, you know, a lecture to 300, 400, 500 medical students. But, you know, I think it slowly will make people more aware, making sure they have a balanced view.

Octavian Iotu: Thank you to everyone for listening. I’ve been Octavian and I hope you’ve enjoyed the discussion. Let us know what you think of this episode by carrying on the conversation on LinkedIn at CX Insider Podcast. This episode is brought to you by ACF technologies global leaders in customer experience management solutions. Let’s get into some quick fire questions. My first question to you is, have you got a favorite actor that you just love their films?

Simon Erridge: I’m going to have to say, um, and my wife might kill me, but Will Ferrell, I’m just like a big, uh, Will Ferrell movie fan.

Octavian Iotu: So you like comedy films then? Yeah. Yeah.

Simon Erridge: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, definitely. Um, that sounds bad as a doctor, but maybe I lack the attention span for a three hour. Uh. Uh, yeah. Much, much rather 90 minutes. Comedy laughing throughout. Um, yeah. No. Yeah, yeah.

Octavian Iotu: That’s good. Have you got a favorite?

Simon Erridge: Uh, stepbrothers?

Octavian Iotu: Yeah, that’s a good feel. That’s a very good feel. Do you like cold holidays or warm holidays? Do you like going to like, mountains rides or do you like going to beach?

Simon Erridge: I would definitely say I’m more of, um, more of a city person. Yeah. I’m much prefer sort of traditional touristy things, like historic stuff. Or maybe it be shopping, whatever it may be, but I’m definitely more of like a city, so I guess it depends on the city somewhat. Maybe like a New York in 100 degree heat? Probably wouldn’t be like that. That nice. But, um, but but you know, if you went to Barcelona, you probably would want it to be quite warm.

Octavian Iotu: Have you got a favorite sport that you like watching or playing?

Simon Erridge: Definitely football. Football? Uh, yeah. Yeah. Is is the one for me. Up until my six month old daughter was born, I had a season ticket for Ipswich Town. Who am I? Okay, my my team. Um. So. Yeah. Love, uh, love watching football.

Octavian Iotu: You’re an Ipswich fan. Yeah, yeah.

Simon Erridge: And, you know, normally that would be, uh, a badge of shame, but currently they’re doing very well, so, um, I’ll happily, um, make my support public.

Simon Ronald: You were forced into supporting Ipswich, I assume from a young age.

Simon Erridge: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s, um. That’s. Yeah. Unfortunately, yeah. So my, um, my dad is, uh, is also an ardent Ipswich Town fan and, um. Yeah, indoctrinated from an early age and so. Yeah. So, yeah, I have a lot to, um, lot to thank him for.

Octavian Iotu: If you’re a football fan, I have to ask this. Do you prefer Messi or Ronaldo?

Simon Erridge: Now? A few years ago, I would have said, I sort of prefer watching Ronaldo play, but I think sort of as they’ve come towards the tail end of their careers, I’ve sort of become more tired of Ronaldo’s antics and, um, I’ve definitely preferred watching Ronaldo over the course of his career play, but I, I think Messi is is the better player. Yeah.

Simon Ronald: Have you seen the Beckham program on Netflix? Yeah, it’s really good.

Simon Erridge: It’s it’s very good. I mean it’s it’s it’s good propaganda. It’s very uh yeah. Whitewashed version. But I still enjoy it. I still.

Simon Ronald: Enjoy it. Yeah. They don’t ask the questions that I want to ask, but it’s, you know, the football’s good. Yeah. Exactly.

Octavian Iotu: Yeah.