3. Melissa Sturgess: What's Your Why?35:25In our first episode of 2024, Hannah Deacon and Professor Mike Barnes spoke to Melissa about her life before cannabis, from growing up in Australia to a high-flying career in the mining industry (much of which was spent being the only woman in the room). Melissa founded Ananda Developments after reading an article about cannabis on the off-chance. At its UK manufacturing facility, the company is focused on developing cannabinoid medicines for the treatment of complex, chronic inflammatory pain conditions. It recently reached a huge milestone and secured regulatory approval and NHS funding to conduct clinical trials in chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIPN) and endometriosis. Melissa shares the many ways she “reinvented” herself throughout her career, from selling sports memorabilia to negotiating “exhilarating” underground mining deals in South Africa and being asked to make the tea in a boardroom full of men. Now she is fully committed to helping establish a robust medical cannabis industry in the UK and enabling patients to have consistent access to high-quality medicines.
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2. Katya Kowalski: What’s Your Why?33:15After studying a Masters in Health Psychology at the University of Bath, where she developed an interest in drug policy, Katya Kowalski went straight into the cannabis space, securing an internship with Volteface, an advocacy and communications organisation, that seeks to reduce the harm drugs pose to individuals and society, through evidence-based policy reform.Now Volteface's head of operations, she chats to Hannah and Mike about her journey so far and shares her thoughts on the future of medical and recreational access in the UK.
1. Emma Matthews: What's Your Why?44:09Emma Matthew's son Louis was 13-years-old when he had his first seizure. He was later diagnosed with a rare genetic condition which causes severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy. As Emma explains in more detail in this episode, Louis was prescribed dozens of different antiepileptic drugs, all of which failed to control his seizures, some of them even exacerbating them. In 2017 Emma and her family moved to Holland so that Louis could access legal medicinal cannabis treatment. Now 19, Louis has been seizure free for over two years and is excelling in a Fine Art degree. But since the family moved back to London in 2022, Louis has been refused a prescription for medical cannabis through the NHS, leaving the future of his access to what has been a life-changing treatment, uncertain. Emma shares their heartbreaking story with the podcast to highlight the challenges they - and so many other patients - have faced in accessing Medical Cannabis in the UK, despite it being legal to prescribe since 2018. Join medical cannabis industry experts and co-founders of Maple Tree Consultants, Hannah Deacon and Professor Mike Barnes, as they sit down with leading voices from the sector to explore how they found themselves in the world of medicinal cannabis and why it matters to them. What’s Your Why looks beyond commercial forecasts to make space for open and honest conversations with the people at the heart of this emerging and ever-evolving industry.